Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Magnetic Ropes Link Earth-Sun
The NASA Themis satellites [vid] have revealed new insights into the forces that cause the Aurora Borealis [vid] or Nothern Lights [vid] to be giant magnetic "ropes" between Earth and the sun long suspected but not confimred until recently.
"The satellites have found evidence of magnetic 'ropes' connecting Earth's upper atmosphere directly to the sun," said David Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
These ropes could serve as conduits for waves of charged particles from the sun called solar wind with Sibeck adding, "We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras."