Indian scientists detect crack in Earth’s magnetic shield

Science & Technology

Indian scientists detect crack in Earth’s magnetic shield

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

The bursting took place when a giant plasma cloud ejected from the solar corona hit the 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 at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, recorded a galactic cosmic ray burst of about 20 GeV last year for two hours.

The explosion occurred when a giant plasma cloud ejected from the solar corona, moving at a speed of about 2.5 million kilometers per hour hit our planet, causing severe compression of the magnetosphere Earth 11 to 4 times the radius of the Earth.

It triggered a severe geomagnetic storm that generated northern lights and cuts in radio signals in many countries of high latitude, according to the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters this week.

The magnetosphere of the Earth extends over a radius of one million kilometers, which is the first line of defense, protecting us from the continuous flow of solar and galactic cosmic rays, thus protecting the life on our planet from these radiations Energies of high intensity.

Numerical simulations carried out by GRAPES-3 researchers, including Pravata K Mohanty, indicate that the Earth’s magnetic shield has been temporarily cracked due to the appearance of magnetic reconnection, allowing particles of galactic cosmic ray energy To enter our atmosphere.

The Earth’s magnetic field folded these particles about 180 degrees from the daytime side to the nocturnal side  of the Earth where it was detected as a flash by the muon GRAPES-3 telescope towards the middle of the night on June 22 2015.

The data was analyzed and interpreted using a thorough multi-week simulation using the 1280-core computer farm that was built in-house by the GRAPES-3 team of physicists and engineers at the Ooty Cosmic Radiation Laboratory.

Solar storms can cause major disruptions to human civilization by paralyzing large power grids, global positioning systems (GPS), satellite operations and communications.