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Earth's Radiation Belts with Safe Zone Orbit

Spacecraft orbiting in the 'Safe Zone', between two and three Earth radii, can be subjected to high levels of harmful radiation as the radiation belts fluctuate in response to space weather events.

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 displays the changing radiation belts from the solar storm as well as a satellite orbit (red) in the 'Safe Zone'.    This movie displays the changing radiation belts from the solar storm as well as a satellite orbit (red) in the 'Safe Zone'.
Duration: 14.0 seconds
Available formats:
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  640x480     MPEG-1   6 MB
  720x480     MPEG-2   10 MB
  320x240     MPEG-1   1 MB
  320x240     X-FLV       585 KB
  640x480     MPEG       2 MB
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Here a satellites orbit is well within the Safe Zone.  Only the outer belt is visible at this time.  The inner belt is too faint to be distinguished on this data scale.    Here a satellites orbit is well within the Safe Zone. Only the outer belt is visible at this time. The inner belt is too faint to be distinguished on this data scale.

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF       1 MB


As the radiation belts move inward, the satellite now passes through regions of high-energy electrons.    As the radiation belts move inward, the satellite now passes through regions of high-energy electrons.

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  2560 x 1920     TIFF       1 MB


As the belts return to their quiescent state, radiation levels at the satellite decrease.    As the belts return to their quiescent state, radiation levels at the satellite decrease.

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  320 x 180         PNG       67 KB


Later still, the Safe Zone re-opens.  The inner belts have not yet shed the high-energy electrons from the event and so their enhanced electron flux makes them visible on this data scale.    Later still, the Safe Zone re-opens. The inner belts have not yet shed the high-energy electrons from the event and so their enhanced electron flux makes them visible on this data scale.

Available formats:
  2560 x 1920     TIFF       1 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3052
Animation Number:3052
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
DLESE >> Space science
SVS >> Radiation Belts
SVS >> Space Weather
 
 


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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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