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Scientists intrigued by discovery of New Earth magnetic waves

The Earth’s magnetic field is very important for the very life of the planet. Scientists study and monitor this natural defense to understand its changes. It was in this continuous monitoring that they realized our magnetosphere was working again. Earth’s cunning magnetic field keeps scientists on their toes.

There is a new type of magnetic wave that intrigues scientists. Movements ripple in the Earth’s outer core.

Strange magnetic waves ripple through Earth’s magnetosphere

A team of Belgian and French scientists have discovered a new type of magnetic wave – called the magneto-coriolis wave – which crosses the surface of the Earth’s outer core every seven years. The researchers analyzed years of satellite data (magnetic field scanning equipment) to build a model of the bizarre waves.

The Earth’s magnetic field, also known as the “magnetosphere”, is essential to sustaining life on our planet. This vast bubble of charged particles surrounds our planet like the tail of a comet, shielding us from both solar and cosmic radiation.

Essentially, this shield has turned the Earth into a giant dipole magnet, helping guide the navigation systems that guide everything from our smartphones to satellites.

Earth’s magnetosphere is generated in our planet’s outer core, a seething sea of ​​molten iron some 2,900 kilometers below the surface. Electrically charged particles in the outer core form convective cells, which produce an electric current that forms what scientists call a “dynamo.” This process is what forms the Earth’s magnetic field, or magnetosphere.

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The planet’s magnetic field is strange, vital, but strange

Our magnetic field is a particularly strange field. It rotates periodically, when it sends the magnetic north pole to the southern hemisphere and vice versa, (we could again be about to have a new phenomenon like this: The last polar reversal happened there 780,000 years ago).

Technically, we’re late for a pole swap, but experts agree we could probably adapt.) In recent years — in geological terms, that is — scientists have noticed other bizarre behavior.

The magnetic north pole, for example, is sliding eastward at high speed. And in a region between Africa and South America, the field really weakens. Although understanding these idiosyncrasies has become a priority for many Earth scientists, there is still a lot we don’t know.

To better understand exactly what is going on with our magnetosphere (which is extremely important), scientists have sent satellites into Earth orbit to study it. The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Swarm mission in 2013, and its trio of satellites have made important discoveries about Earth’s magnetic field and the inner workings of our planet since then.

However, Swarm is not the first series of satellites to take on this task. The CHAMP (German Challenging Minisatellite Payload) mission and the Danish Ørsted mission, launched in 2000 and 1999 respectively, have worked for about 25 years to study the Earth’s magnetic field.

This latest research team analyzed and then used years of data collected by these satellites – as well as data from Earth’s magnetic field detectors – to create a computer model that identified the new type of magnetic wave.

Magnetic waves: many questions to which we still do not have answers

The data collected revealed that every seven years, these waves sweep westward (at a snail’s speed of 1,500 kilometers per year) through the upper layer of the outer core, where that boundary meets the mantle. The waves are strongest – or rather, their impact on the magnetic field is the greatest – towards the interior of the equatorial region of the outer core.

The researchers report a number of factors that can influence the behavior and characteristics of these waves and others like them, including changes in the fluidity and buoyancy of material in the Earth’s core, the rotation of the planet along of its axis and even the interactions with the magnetic material. around the Earth.

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They also think there could be even more types of magnetic waves to discover. They published their findings earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For years, scientists suspected the existence of these waves, but were unsure of their occurrence or duration. This is the first time they have been observed. Although the Earth’s surface is covered by a wide range of magnetic field detection instruments, satellite views of the Earth and its inner layers were needed to help researchers solve the case.

The more we learn about the Earth’s magnetic field, the better we can predict and understand its behavior and processes.

This current research will certainly improve the scientific model of the magnetic field in the Earth’s outer core. It can also give us new information about the electrical conductivity of the lower part of the mantle and also about the thermal history of the Earth.

Ilias Daras, a geodetic and solid Earth scientist working on the Swarm mission, said in an ESA press release earlier this week.

Studies like these could also tell us about other worlds in our solar system and beyond the one with a magnetic field. Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have magnetic fields. (Jupiter is the largest and most powerful; Mercury is the weakest.) Interestingly, Jupiter’s moon Ganymede also has a magnetosphere – the only moon in our solar system to have one which was discovered in 1996 when the Galileo spacecraft saw auroras.

It’s helpful to know more about this curious feature of our planet, but it’s probably equally helpful to accept that we can’t do anything about its changes.

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