The Van Allen Probes (formerly Radiation Belt Storm Probes - RBSP) Explore the Earth's Radiation Belts

  • Released Tuesday, May 8, 2012
  • Updated Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 2:01PM
  • ID: 3951

The Radiation Belt Storm Probe (RBSP) is actually two satellites that will travel on a elliptical orbit around the Earth, ranging between 1.5 and 6 Earth radii. This range covers the inner region of the Earth's geomagnetic field.

In this region, many of the magnetic field lines intersect the surface of the Earth in the north and south. This means that lower energy ions and electrons, some 'boiled off' the Earth's ionosphere by solar ultraviolet radiation, can be trapped along these field lines. The charged particles spend their time bouncing between the 'mirror points' in the Earth's magnetic field. This trapped population forms the radiation belts around the Earth. The radiation created by this charged particle population can be hazardous to satellites and astronauts so it is important to understand their characteristics.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) (Collected with the HILT sensor)
SSCweb ephemerides (A.K.A. SSCweb)
Ephemeris | NASA/GSFC Space Physics Data Facility

Satellite ephemerides

Dataset can be found at:

See more visualizations using this data set

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

You may also like...

Loading recommendations...