Particle beam could help map Earth’s magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field. This mapping could provide insight into a region of the Earth’s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere, as well as the magnetosphere, the region of outer space affected by Earth’s magnetic field, and help scientists predict how plasma belched from the sun can disrupt telecommunications satellites, cell phone calls, and global positioning systems.’s-magnetic-field-understand-how-space-weather