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THEMIS (Aurora research and more!) Update

February 16th, 2009. By Dave Oei. 3,877 views.
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Photo courtesy of NASA.  Artists rendition of Earths magnetic field.

Photo courtesy of NASA. Artist's rendition of Earth's magnetic field.

If you recall, THEMIS is the awful name given to the amazing set of satellites charged with learning about how the solar wind affects Earth’s magnetic field, auroras, and shortages to our power grid.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, late last year initial results indicate that indeed our magnetic field is leaky as previously predicted.  However, what surprised scientists is the finding that more solar particle penetrate Earth’s magnetic field when it’s aligned with the sun’s magnetic field, not against it.

And it’s when the sun’s magnetic field switches orientation that ours tears open, ultimately wrecking havoc yet yielding amazing auroras.  For the science intense, you can go straight to the source.  For those looking for auroras, look no further than here.

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