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Scientists deepen the understanding of magnetic fields surrounding the Earth and other planets



  Scientists deeper understanding of the magnetic field surrounding the Earth and other planets
PPPL physicist Eun-Hwa Kim. Credit: Elle Starkman / PPPL Office of Communications

Extensive rings of electrically charged particles that surround the Earth and other planets. Now, a team of scientists has completed research on waves traveling through this magnetic, electrically charged environment, known as magnetosphere, deepening regional understanding and interacting with our own planet, and opening new ways to study other planets across the globe.


Scientists, led by Eun-Hwa Kim, physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), examined a type of wave traveling through the magnetosphere. These waves, called the electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves, show the temperature and density of plasma particles within the magnetosphere, among other features

"The waves are a type of signal from plasma, "says Kim, lead author of a paper that reports findings at JGR Space Physics . "Therefore, EMIC waves can be used as diagnostic tools to reveal some of the properties of plasma."

Kim and researchers from Andrews University in Michigan and Kyung Hee University in South Korea are focusing their conversion mode research, the way in which some EMIC wave forms. During this process, other currents compressed in the direction they traveled from outer space collided with the Earth's magnetosphere and triggered the formation of EMIC waves, which then zoomed off to a particular angle and polarization-the direction in which all the light waves are vibrating The use of PPPL computers, scientists have performed initiatives showing that these modes-converted wave of EMICs are may propagate through the magnetosphere along the magnetic field lines at a normal angle of less than 90 degrees, relative to the region's boundary with space. Knowing such characteristics allows physicists to identify the EMIC waves and gather information about the magnetosphere with limited initial information.

A better understanding of the magnetosphere can provide detailed information on how Earth and other planets interact with their space environment. For example, scientists allow identification of elements such as helium and oxygen in the magnetosphere, as well as learn more about the flow of charged particles from the day that produces aurora borealis.

Additionally, engineers use waves like EMIC waves to aid plasma heating in donut shaped magnetic magnetic fusion known as tokamaks. Thus, studying the behavior of magnetic waves in the magnetosphere can deepen the view of the creation of the energy of the fusion, which occurs when plasma particles collide to form heavier particles. Scientists around the world are seeking to replicate Earth integration for an almost inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.

The knowledge of EMIC waves can provide extensive benefits. "We are really eager to understand the magnetosphere and how it mediates the impact that space weather has on our planet," Kim said. "Being able to use EMIC waves as diagnostics would be useful."


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More info:
Eun-Hwa Kim et al, Electron Inertial Effects on Linearly Polarized Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves on Earth's Magnetosphere, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics (201
9). DOI: 10.1029 / 2019JA026532

Provided by
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Citation :
Scientists deepen magnetic fields surrounding the Earth and other planets (2019, July 12)
acquired July 12, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-scientists-deepen-magnetic-fields-earth.html

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