NASA spacecraft MMS uncovers magnetic reconnection in turbulent space (watch video)

10 May 2018, 02:04 PM
NASA spacecraft MMS discovers magnetic reconnection in turbulent space (Source-Screengrab)
NASA spacecraft MMS discovers magnetic reconnection in turbulent space (Source-Screengrab)

In a major breakthrough, NASA scientists have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment, with the help of a spacecraft. The scientists used the data provided by Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft (MMS) to discover the new type of magnetic event.

Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft uses four similar spacecrafts which fly in a pyramid formation to study a little-understood phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection.

Magnetic reconnection is an important process in the space, which is filled with charged particles called plasma, around the Earth, according to the researchers at the University of California.

This process causes magnetic energy to dissipate and propels charged particles, which in turn contributes to a dynamic space weather system which the scientists are eager to understand, and even someday predict, the way we do terrestrial weather.

The reconnection takes place when crossed magnetic field lines snap, flinging away the nearby particles at high-paced seeds.

The discovery, which has been published in the journal Nature, observed a reconnection where it was never seen earlier- in turbulent plasma.

There are two important phenomena in the plasma universe- magnetic reconnection and turbulence. This ground-breaking discovery bridges the two processes, according to Tai Phan, a senior fellow at the University of California.

Magnetic reconnection has been observed many times in the magnetosphere but usually under calmer conditions.

The new event took place in a region called the magnetosheath, which is just outside the outer circle of the magnetosphere, where the solar wind is extremely fierce.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Thursday, May 10, 2018 01:55 PM
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