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Scientists may have finally figured out how and why these leaks are appearing in the Earth's magnetic field

Satellite images collected by the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission revealed another large breach in the magnetic field responsible for protecting the Earth.

The magnetosphere helps protect the Earth from severe space weather, including possible disruptive solar winds, scientists said.  Being able to learn more about these holes will help scientists predict when electrical storms occur.

"The discovery overturns a long-standing belief about how and when most of the solar particles penetrate Earth's magnetic field, and could be used to predict when solar storms will be severe," UCLA NASA THEMIS mission investigator Vassilis Angelopoulos said in a statement.  "Based on these results, we expect more severe storms during the upcoming solar cycle."

Themis research indicates the magnetosphere sometimes has two cracks, which are big enough for solar wind -- with speeds up to 1 million MPH -- to hit the Earth's upper atmosphere.

The solar particles are electrically charged, which was no problem, but our magnetic field has tears that let the particles breach.

"Twenty times more solar particles cross the Earth's leaky magnetic shield when the sun's magnetic field is aligned with that of the Earth compared to when the two magnetic fields are oppositely directed," according to Cal researcher Marit Oieroset.

Scientists figured some type of "closed door" entry mechanism was used, but they weren't sure how important the closed door is for Earth.  Most particles hit the shield and float back into space, but some of the particles that get through are able to get energized while leading to possible power grid outages.

Most solar storms occur during the halfway section and on the final stretch of a solar cycle.  In 2008 it's at a minimum, and will reach its peak four years from now.

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Gotta give'em more time
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2008 8:52:51 AM , Rating: 2
Our shields can't repel solar particles of that magnitude!

I'm sure this is somehow mankind's fault as well.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Dreifort on 12/17/2008 8:59:11 AM , Rating: 2
the plasma cloak is seeping thru into the earth's atmosphere! oh nooooos!

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By therealnickdanger on 12/17/2008 9:24:56 AM , Rating: 5
It's a trap!

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By MrBlastman on 12/17/2008 10:45:24 AM , Rating: 4
Can't we just plug the astral gap with some Galactic Chewing Gum™ ? It is illogical to think that we can allow this solar invasion to penetrate our umbrella. Just plug the hole darn it.

Galactic Chewing Gum™ ... now in three new flavors! Blue Nova Explosion, Neutron Crush and Betelgeus Cherry! Patching up heavenly taste, one star at a time.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By djkrypplephite on 12/17/2008 2:31:34 PM , Rating: 5
It must be George Bush's fault.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By mdogs444 on 12/17/2008 9:06:29 AM , Rating: 3
The earths temperature rose for a warming.

Its now cooling...more signs of global warming.

Sea levels will rise warming.

Sea levels are rising much less than expected....more global warming.

We have a plasma cloaking the warming.

Magnetic fields warming!

Even if you don't believe, can we please give up our daily lives so the polar bears don't have to swim so far for food? Quit being so selfish! Get a bicycle! Build a mud hut! Lace it with non-efficient and overpriced solar panels! Reuse your dirty bath water! Don't wash your clothes so often! Support the unions!

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2008 10:18:58 AM , Rating: 3
Now they're saying the polar bears will survive on goose eggs. Maybe they'll learn to make an egg, cheese, and seal omelet.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By MrPoletski on 12/17/2008 1:05:57 PM , Rating: 5
the Mcdonalds McEgg Cheeseal omelette...

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By MonkeyPaw on 12/17/2008 11:09:42 AM , Rating: 2
Is it so hard to believe that these magnetic holes are man's fault? After all, man discovered this problem, so we must be the cause of it, too. Sure, we don't know exactly how we're doing it, but the most commonly accepted theory is a large distortion generated from millions of refrigerator magnets in circulation. If everyone would stop buying these frivolous magnets to hold everything from important memos to decades old pictures on their appliances, this whole disaster could be mitigated. It's just too hard for many families to let it go, however, as many just like to have the name of their favorite vacation destinations magically bonded to their Maytags and Kelvinators. And since tape just doesn't want to stick to these bumpy surfaces, environmentalist groups are proposing that if people absolutely must have things on their fridges, they should use nails, tacks, or screws to attach these items.

Those who wish to help save the planet by removing their magnets should dispose of them properly. For a small fee, these magnets will be collected and safely stored until they can be properly destroyed. When enough magnets are collected, they will be packed into a rocket and launched into the sun. After millions of magnets are properly destroyed, scientists will then study the earth's magnetic field to see if this measure has worked. If the field doesn't show signs of improvement, then it is obvious that refrigerator magnets are not the only magnets causing the problem, so a new magnet purge of a wider scale will take place. One thing is sure, we must act now, before magnets make the planet uninhabitable.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Mathos on 12/17/2008 1:01:02 PM , Rating: 5
Or to sum up your reply..... He who smellt it, dealt it.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By MrPoletski on 12/17/2008 1:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
whoever said the rhyme did the crime.

Oh crap I just said the rhyme.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2008 1:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Funny how that kinda works in real life since most rap "artists" are criminals.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Spuke on 12/17/2008 3:42:13 PM , Rating: 3
Funny how that kinda works in real life since most rap "artists" are criminals.
Most rap artists aren't criminals but act like them. Most of these guys were raised in middle class neighborhoods and some have degrees. It's a ploy to sell records, that's all. Do some commit crimes? Sure, it's part of the act. Ask a gang member if he listens to rap. Most don't because the artists are fake. And they're correct.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Baov on 12/17/2008 11:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
Is it better to be criminal than to be a phony?

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By BruceLeet on 12/17/2008 5:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
Your country music has "kissing cousins"

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2008 11:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
I hate country.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Narlock on 12/17/2008 12:09:11 PM , Rating: 3
Magnetic fields warming!

This article makes no mention of global warming. Lipstick on a pygmy mouse?

Intensify the forward batteries. I don't want anything to get through!

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Spivonious on 12/17/2008 9:45:52 AM , Rating: 4
How can they be jamming us if they don't know that we're...coming.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Chapbass on 12/17/2008 10:19:14 AM , Rating: 3
We wont last long against those solar winds!

Longer than we will against that global warming!


RE: Gotta give'em more time
By xXxTweakxXx on 12/17/2008 10:02:12 AM , Rating: 3
We will deal with your Earth friends soon enough

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Spivonious on 12/17/2008 4:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
This is the best comment thread of all time. George Lucas would be proud.

RE: Gotta give'em more time
By Shuswapper on 12/17/2008 8:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
I canna keep the shields up much longer Captain! We need to get more power from the warp core into the shield generator or we're not gonna survive another direct hit!

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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