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NASA Spacecraft Discovers New Magnetic Process in Turbulent Space

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Thu May 10, 2018 4:46 pm

Though close to home, the space immediately around Earth is full of hidden secrets and invisible processes. In a new discovery reported in the journal Nature, scientists working with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft — MMS — have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment by using an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of the data.

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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Thu May 10, 2018 4:47 pm



Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in the space — filled with charged particles known as plasma — around Earth. This fundamental process dissipates magnetic energy and propels charged particles, both of which contribute to a dynamic space weather system that scientists want to better understand, and even someday predict, as we do terrestrial weather.

Reconnection occurs when crossed magnetic field lines snap, explosively flinging away nearby particles at high speeds. The new discovery found reconnection where it has never been seen before — in turbulent plasma.


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NASA Spacecraft Discovers New Magnetic Process in Turbulent Space 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Thu May 10, 2018 4:48 pm



In a turbulent magnetic environment, magnetic field lines become scrambled. As the field lines cross, intense electric currents (shown here as bright regions) form and eventually trigger magnetic reconnection (indicated by a flash), which is an explosive event that releases magnetic energy accumulated in the current layers and ejects high-speed bi-directional jets of electrons.

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission witnessed this process in action as it flew through the electron jets the turbulent boundary just at the edge of Earth’s magnetic environment.


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NASA Spacecraft Discovers New Magnetic Process in Turbulent Space 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Thu May 10, 2018 4:49 pm



Earth is surrounded by a protective magnetic environment — the magnetosphere — shown here in blue, which deflects a supersonic stream of charged particles from the Sun, known as the solar wind. As the particles flow around Earth’s magnetosphere, it forms a highly turbulent boundary layer called the magnetosheath, shown in yellow.


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NASA Spacecraft Discovers New Magnetic Process in Turbulent Space 334pu7m

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