Stunning animation shows how our planet protects us from solar wind
The process that forms Earth’s first line of defence against killer solar storms has been revealed for the first time.
In a groundbreaking study four NASA spacecraft observed a process known as magnetic reconnection, which is the planet’s first line of defence against the intensity of the solar wind.
It occurred in a turbulent region of the Earth’s outer atmosphere known as the magnetosheath, and could radically change what we know about protecting the planet, and future astronauts.
Dr Jonathan Eastwood, from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, who worked on the study, said: ‘Turbulence is one of the last great concepts in classical physics that we do not understand well, but we know it’s important in space as it redistributes energy.
‘With this observation, we can now make new theories or models that will help us understand observations of other places like the Sun’s atmosphere and the magnetic environments of other planets.’
Magnetic reconnection has been observed innumerable times in the magnetosphere — the magnetic environment around Earth — but usually under calm conditions.
The new event occurred in a region called the magnetosheath, just outside the outer boundary of the magnetosphere, where the solar wind is extremely turbulent.
The mission, known as Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), was commissioned to study magnetic reconnection, a common event throughout the universe that occurs when magnetic fields change by connecting and then breaking apart.
It found a new breed of magnetic reconnection, known as electron magnetic reconnection, that is much different than the kind that happens in the much less turbulent magnetosphere closer to Earth.
Previously, scientists didn’t know if reconnection even could occur there, as the plasma is highly chaotic in that region.
MMS found it does, but on scales much smaller than previous spacecraft could probe.
The new insights could help us understand how such phenomena affect Earth’s atmosphere because of the potential impact on astronauts in space, satellites and electrical power industries.
‘The turbulence in the magnetosheath contains a lot of magnetic energy,’ said Tai Phan, lead author of the Nature article and senior fellow in the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
People have been debating how this energy is dissipated and magnetic reconnection is one of the possible processes.’
The energy comes directly from the sun’s corona, a blazing hot environment that shoots particles out in all directions at speeds around 1 million miles per hour.
This is the forceful solar wind.
When its power hits the magnetosheath, waves of plasma chaos roll through it.
Scientists don’t know yet how all of that turbulent energy is dissipated.
As magnetic field lines cross, intense electric currents (shown here as bright regions) form and eventually trigger magnetic reconnection (indicated by a flash)
But this new discovery – electron magnetic reconnection – may help them learn more.
The MMS mission has four spacecraft flying in formation about four miles apart, gathering data as they go.
Its array of instruments gave researchers one of their first opportunities to search for reconnection in the magnetosheath.
They got what they hoped to get – evidence th
But in the process, they discovered magnetic reconnection here works much differently than the kind observed elsewhere.
Instead of huge jets of ionized hydrogen atoms, triggered by many collisions of magnetic fields, this form of magnetic reconnection shoots off much tinier electron jets with very few collisions occurring, Shay said.
This has never been recognized before, partly because no instruments could capture the process.
The relative difference in size between the electrons and the ions is similar to the difference between ball bearings and basketballs, Shay said.
The electrons are harder to spot, and moving 40 times faster.
‘I had simulated this possible kind of reconnection,’ Shay said.
‘But no one had ever observed it happening in space.’
The analysis could reveal many more surprises as scientists continue to explore the data MMS has sent.
‘MMS has taken us to a whole new level,’ Shay said.
‘It’s like knowing about atoms and then finding out about even tinier parts like the nucleus or the electrons.
‘People were not expecting it.’
Inspired by a quote citing that Oregon has over 250 ghost towns, a team of five students go on a journey to explore small towns in eastern Oregon. They investigate more of the context of these places in economist and historian interviews.
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AUDIOBOOK – DINOSAURS (With The Original Pictures) – 1915
I extensively combined two different Public Domain works that covered the same book “DINOSAURS With Special Reference To The American Museum Collections” by William Diller Matthew.
It took me several days to do it all. One was the visual book from Project Gutenberg. The other was the audio Librivox reading of the Gutenberg book.
So, other people have dumped the Librivox audiobook into a video unchanged, along with the Librivox CD case pictures unchanged, and posted it to their pages. That is fine, they are Public Domain.
BUT NO ONE HAS WHAT I HAVE!
I altered the audio to remove redundant parts and to replace parts that were missing.
I DRASTICALLY sped up the audio so it runs at 1.5 times speed, because I am too impatient to listen to the relaxed pace of the original; that reduced the length from 4.5 hours down to 3 hours.
Then I altered the pitch of the voice to be close to the original readers voice, for Jeffrey Smith of Louisiana.
So this audiobook recording is MUCH different than either of the original Public Domain works.
And it is MUCH different than anyone else’s version on YouTube.
That allows me to have a copyright on this version, so I claim the copyright on this.
Metal Detecting in the Mountains ft. Aquachigger
Beau, Andrew, and I were invited by Chris to detect a property at the base of a mountain. I’ve detected a lot of different places, but this was one of my top favorite locations. Even if the finds were few and far between, time spent exploring with friends is the real treasure. Well… that and the mythical squirrel tree we stumbled upon…
If you’re interested in purchasing a metal detector or other metal detecting must-haves, check out my recommended gear. A fraction of the profits goes to support this channel:
You can also support this channel by pledging on Patreon: www.patreon.com/joceeliza
Camera: Canon G7x Mark II (
Editing Software: iMovie
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Metal Detector: Garrett AT Max (
PinPointer: Garrett PRO-Pointer AT (
Shovel: Nx5 by Anaconda Treasure (
HeadLamp: NiteIze Swipe to Shine (
Gloves: Glacier Glove (
BackPack: Buffalo Jackson Dakota Rucksack (
Camo Apparel: TrailCrest (
Magnets: K&J Magnets (
For a Full List of Recommended Gear:
Oldetyme Numismatics – “Specializing in the buying and selling of coins, gold, silver, and paper money.”
Flea Assassin – “Effective flea treatments and preventatives at half the cost of leading brands.” Use special code “RRSentMe” at checkout for discounts.
American Digger Magazine – “For Diggers and Collectors of Heritage and History.” Read my column in every issue!
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