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.
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