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November 4, 2016

Indian scientists detect crack in Earth’s magnetic shield

National

November 4, 2016

NEW DELHI: The world’s largest and most sensitive cosmic ray monitor, located in India, has recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays that indicates a crack in the Earth’s magnetic shield, according to scientists.

The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth at a very high speed causing massive compression of the Earth’s magnetosphere and triggering a severe geomagnetic storm.

The GRAPES-3 muon telescope located at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ooty in Tamil Nadu recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays of about 20 GeV last year lasting for two hours.

The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona, and moving with a speed of about 2.5 million kilometres per hour struck our planet, causing a severe compression of Earth’s magnetosphere from 11 to 4 times the radius of Earth.

It triggered a severe geomagnetic storm that generated aurora borealis and radio signal blackouts in many high latitude countries, according to the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters this week.

 

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