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Earth’s Magnetic Shield Vital for Humanity Cracks, Indian Researchers Discover

According to scientists, the world's largest and one of the most sensitive cosmic ray monitors, located in India recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays

Earth. Pixabay

November 6, 2016: According to scientists, the world’s largest and one of the most sensitive cosmic ray monitors, located in India recorded a burst of galactic cosmic rays which indicates a crack in the magnetic shield of the earth.

According to PTI report, “The burst occurred when a giant cloud of plasma ejected from the solar corona struck Earth at a very high speed causing massive compression of the Earth’s magnetosphere and triggering a severe geomagnetic storm.”

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A burst of galactic cosmic rays was recorded last year, of about 20 GeV that lasted for two hours. It was recorded by the GRAPES-3 muon telescope located at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Tamil Nadu.

When a huge cloud of plasma moving with a speed of 2.5 million kilometres per hour ejected from the solar corona and struck our planet, the burst took place, causing a severe compression of Earth’s magnetosphere.

“It triggered a severe geomagnetic storm that generated aurora borealis and radio signal blackouts in many high latitude countries, according to the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters this week.”

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The magnetosphere of the Earth extends over a radius of a million kilometres, which acts as a shield-the first line of defence, protecting us from the continuous flow of solar and galactic cosmic rays and guarding our planet from all these energetic radiations of high intensity.

Numerical simulations performed by the GRAPES-3 researchers, including Pravata K Mohanty indicates, “The Earth’s magnetic shield temporarily cracked due to the occurrence of magnetic reconnection, allowing the lower energy galactic cosmic ray particles to enter our atmosphere.”

“Earth’s magnetic field bent these particles about 180 degree, from the day-side to the night-side of the Earth where it was detected as a burst by the GRAPES-3 muon telescope around mid-night on 22 June 2015.”

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Through extensive simulation, the data was interpreted and analysed at the Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ooty.

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Solar storms can disrupt human civilisation to a large extent by crippling large electrical power grids, global positioning systems (GPS), satellite operations and communications.

by NewsGram team with PTI inputs

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393