News of the WeekAtmospheric Physics

Finding the Holes in the Magnetosphere

Science  07 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5549, pp. 2072
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5549.2072a

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Every so often, particles and energy from the solar wind burst through Earth's magnetic field by means of a process called magnetic reconnection, causing the magnetic storms that disrupt satellites, power lines, and communications. Researchers have puzzled for decades over how and where reconnection happens. Now physicists from the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge have developed a way to pick between two competing views of where reconnection occurs.