Probes the van Allen detected a flare in the radiation belt of the Earth

Our planet lies in the center of two giant concentric tori of powerful radiation – the radiation of the van Allen belts in which hold a large amount of charged particles captured by Earth’s magnetic field. March 17, 2015 interplanetary shock wave – the shock wave created by a coronal mass ejection of solar mass (coronal mass ejection, CME) – crashed into Earth’s magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, triggering a geomagnetic storm greatest over the previous decade. And the van Allen probes, NASA was in the place where you can observe the effects of this cosmic event on Earth radiation belts.

It is believed that an interplanetary shock wave can accelerate electrons moving inside the van Allen belts, however, observation of these effects is complicated by the high degree of localization. Actually described here the excitation of electrons under the influence of the interplanetary shock wave observed just one of the probes twins who find themselves in the “right” place. This unit recorded a sharp pulse corresponding to the electrons accelerated almost to near-light speeds around the time when the shock wave crashed into the outer radiation belt. This population of electrons was short-lived, and their energy is dissipated within a few minutes. However, five days later, when almost all the effects associated with this geomagnetic storm had quieted, the van Allen probes recorded an increase in the number of electrons, energy of which was higher than the energy of primary electrons accelerated by the shock wave.


To explain these observations, researchers led Sri Kanekalon, a member of the science teams of the van Allen probes, has suggested that electromagnetic waves coming from the Sun, staying in the magnetosphere of the Earth in a few days “rocked” the electrons that resulted in a powerful surge of level energies of these particles.

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