Crazy Friday Science: Earth’s Magnetosphere


    Direct from NASA — meet our Magnetosphere!

    Ever see that movie with Nick Cage called Knowing?  Earth’s magnetosphere is the main premise of that movie, and its failure is the cause of the world’s destruction.  It’s not really that good when you realize that the aliens came to save the planet, which really turns the movie from a disaster movie (that I love) to something that has aliens saving us from ourselves.  Come on, aliens.  You really want Mitt Romney and John Boehner in your civilization?

    Ha haa, I kid.  Nobody wants Mitt Romney and John Boehner in their civilizations…

    From the video site:

    Watch as this NASA animation shows the sun blasting out a giant explosion of magnetic energy called a coronal mass ejection and the Earth being shielded from this by its powerful magnetic field. The sun also continuously showers the Earth with light and radiation energy. Much of this solar energy is deflected by the Earth’s atmosphere or reflected back into space by clouds, ice and snow. What gets through becomes the energy that drives the Earth system, powering a remarkable planetary engine — the climate.

    The unevenness of this solar heating, the cycles of day and night, and our seasons are part of what cause wind currents to circulate around the word. These winds drive surface ocean currents and in this animation you can view these currents flowing off the coast of Florida.

    This animation connects for the first time a series of computer models. The view of the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field comes from the Luhmann-Friesen magnetic field model and two models that incorporated data from a real coronal mass ejection from the sun on December 2006.

    NASA’s Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) at Goddard Space Flight Center, a multi-agency partnership that provides information on space weather to the international research community, generated these two models. The ENLIL model is a time-dependent 3-D magnetohydrodynamic model of the heliosphere and shows changes in the particles flows and magnetic fields.
    The BATS-R-US model is also a magnetohydrodynamic model of plasma from solar wind moving through the Earth’s magnetic dipole field. It uses measurements of solar wind density, velocity, temperature and magnetic field by NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite, which launched in August of 1997 and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), two satellites that view the structure and evolution of solar storms.

    I hope this finds you well, world!  Happy Friday!

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