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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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2008 + 4 = 2012
By Chimpie on 12/17/2008 9:28:37 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
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.


Four years from now is 2012. The End of Days!

Oh noooooooo!




RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By docmilo on 12/17/2008 9:44:30 AM , Rating: 3
Don't worry about the end of days. Just take 2 morning after pills and it's all good.

Oh, and it's just the end of the calendar, not the end of the world.


RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By Gzus666 on 12/17/2008 9:46:53 AM , Rating: 4
DAMN YOU MAYANS FOR BEING RIGHT!!!


RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By Screwballl on 12/17/2008 11:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
Nah we still have 30 years to go until end of the world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem


RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By ThePooBurner on 12/17/2008 4:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it! :) And actually, 2012 is just the begining of the end. The dawning of a new era of life. It matches up with when the solar system is in line with the galaxy's center star and receives a burst of new energy/marks one full rotation of the solarsystem around the galaxy (or maybe it's just one of the quarters of the galaxy. like a season. i forget which one. It's all facinating stuff, though).


RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By foolsgambit11 on 12/17/2008 6:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but can't you always draw a line between two points? So isn't our solar system always in line with the galaxy's 'center star'?


RE: 2008 + 4 = 2012
By BruceLeet on 12/17/2008 5:59:39 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the LHC will be 100% operational by 2012 I'd say this is all lining up in perfect timing, decaying gravity etc turn on LHC and create a black hole. Makes sense now.


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