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Earth's Radiation Belts Tremble Under Impact of Solar Storm

Under the wave of energetic particles from the Halloween 2003 solar storm events, the Earth's radiation belts underwent significant changes in structure. This visualization is constructed using daily-averaged particle flux data from the SAMPEX satellite installed in a simple dipole model for the Earth's magnetic field. The toroidal structure of the belts corresponds to regions with electron fluxes in excess of 100 electrons/s/cm^2/steradian with energies of 2-6 MeV. The color-scale on the cross section is violet for low flux and white for high flux. The translucent gray arcs represent the fields lines of the Earth's dipole field. The 3-dimensional structure was built from the SAMPEX measurement by propagating the particle flux values along field lines of a simple magnetic dipole.

NOTE: This visualization shows the Earth's magnetic dipole field lines rotating rigidly with the Earth. Technically, this is inaccurate. Ions and electrons in the lower atmosphere can create currents which can make these lines 'drag' with Earth's rotation, but this will occur mostly near the Earth and not higher up. More details on this process can be found in the FAQ at the The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere web site, Does the Earth's magnetic field rotate?.
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This movie plays the daily-averaged radiation belt model.    This movie plays the daily-averaged radiation belt model.
Duration: 14.0 seconds
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  320x240     X-FLV       584 KB
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During the pre-storm time, the inner region of the belts has a relatively low particle flux and for this scaling of the data, a distinct inner belt is not visible as a separate structure.    During the pre-storm time, the inner region of the belts has a relatively low particle flux and for this scaling of the data, a distinct inner belt is not visible as a separate structure.

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF       1 MB
  320 x 180         PNG       66 KB


After the storm, the radiation belts are filled with particles and much closer to the Earth.    After the storm, the radiation belts are filled with particles and much closer to the Earth.

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Over time, the belts relax, expanding back to their original locations but some residual particles remain close to the Earth.    Over time, the belts relax, expanding back to their original locations but some residual particles remain close to the Earth.

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Later, the outer belt has expanded even further and the inner belt retains some of its high particle flux.    Later, the outer belt has expanded even further and the inner belt retains some of its high particle flux.

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For a day, three radiation belts are detected.    For a day, three radiation belts are detected.

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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3048
Animation Number:3048
Completed:2004-12-01
Animators:Tom Bridgman (GST) (Lead)
 James W. Williams (GST)
 Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Scientists:Daniel Baker (LASP)
 Shrikanth G. Kanekal (NOAA)
Platform/Sensor/Data Set:Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX)/PET (2003/10/17 - 2003/12/25)
Series:Halloween 2003 Solar Storms Revisited
Goddard TV Tape:G2004-071
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Scientific Visualization Studio
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Geomagnetic Field
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Magnetosphere
DLESE >> Space science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions
SVS >> Radiation Belts
SVS >> Space Weather
SVS >> For Educators
SVS >> Space Science
SVS >> Earth Science >> El Nino
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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