For updated global info & data on COVID-19, please click HERE.For updated global data & graphs on COVID-19, please click HERE.For COVID-19 cases and death counts in USA by state, please click HERE.For COVID-19 cases in Florida via Florida COVID Action, please click HERE.For COVID-19 cases in Florida, via Florida state government, please click HERE.Earth’s magnetic field acts like a protective shield around the planet, repelling and trapping charged particles from the Sun. But over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean, an unusually weak spot in the field – called the South Atlantic Anomaly, or SAA – allows these particles to dip closer to the surface than normal. Currently, the SAA creates no visible impacts on daily life on the surface. However, recent observations and forecasts show that the region is expanding westward and continuing to weaken in intensity. The South Atlantic Anomaly is also of interest to NASA’s Earth scientists who monitor the changes in magnetic strength there, both for how such changes affect Earth’s atmosphere and as an indicator of what’s happening to Earth’s magnetic fields, deep inside the globe. In the video “NASA Explores Earth’s Magnetic ‘Dent’“, below:
South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is where radiation belts full of harmful, high-energy particles reach closer to earth than any where else in space. These belts are formed when earth’s magnetic field traps solar cosmic rays and prevents them from reaching the surface, where they could damage electronics and destroy biological cells. Normally, radiation belts stretch 620-37,000 miles above the surface, but over part of South America, the inner radiation belt dips to 120 miles, which is low enough to intercept the path of certain satellites. The anomaly has caused system failure in laptops aboard NASA’s space shuttles and is thought to be responsible for the destruction of Japan’s most powerful x-ray telescope. Instruments like Hubble don’t take observations while passing through and the international space stationhas extra shielding to protect its astronauts. The SAA is far enough from the surface that people on earth are not affected.
The closest radiation belt to Earth roams above South America. It is called the South Atlantic Anomaly and gives off high levels of radiation that has been known to destroy satellites, in the video “Radiation hot spot over South America with no satellites“, below:
There’s a region of Earth’s atmosphere known as the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), and it’s one of the most dangerous near-Earth areas of space, both for satellites and humans, in the video “Why Space Over South America is Deadly for Satellites“, below:
There is a region in South America, stretching from around 15 to 45 degrees south latitude, where the inner radiation belt is unusually close to earth. Typically, the belt is at least a few thousand kilometers above the surface, but in this region, it’s only about 600 kilometers up. This region is known as the South Atlantic Anomaly, where the inner belt is low enough to affect and damage satellites. It is difficult to avoid this region because orbits are symmetric around the equator, so it is difficult to pass over a certain latitude in the northern hemisphere if it will also pass over the same latitude in the southern hemisphere. Therefore, low earth-orbiting satellites often end up traveling through this pot for a few minutes daily. In doing so, these satellites encounter those high-energy particles and the potential problems associated with these high-energy particles.
One possible way to protect spacecraft from these high energy particles is to shield them with physical barriers. But having shield would translate into increased expense and weight. So the alternative method is in giving a satellite multiple computers that can vote: if at least two computers agree on an action, with same given information, the satellite would then do that. This method would help to prevent problem for the mission if one computer has glitches.
A weaker magnetic field will make the planet more susceptible to solar radiation and put space equipment at risk, in the video “Earth’s magnetic field is weakening, and no one is sure why, Your Morning“, below:
The European Space Agency has reported that the earth’s magnetic field has weakened by 9% over a 200 year period. The northern portion of South America stretching across the Atlantic into Africa has a weak spot in the field because the center of the magnetic field in that region is set away from that region. Therefore the magnetic field is weakest in that region. The magnetic field/poles reverse every few hundred thousand years (geologic records have shown that the magnetic field flips, on average, every 500 thousand years). The last time it flipped was 700,000 years ago. If the magnetic field weakens continuously to the point of being turned off, then we will have serious problems. But the mechanism behind generating magnetic field and why it reverses occurs rather randomly, not a periodic event.
For more on the subject matter, please also view the video “Is Earth’s Magnetic Field Reversing?“, below:
I am a mother/wife/daughter, math professor, solar advocate, world traveler, yogi, artist, photographer, sharer of knowledge/information, and resident of Windermere, FL. I've worked professionally in applied math, engineering, medical research, and as a university math professor in IL and FL for about 20 years. My husband and I loved Disney and moved down to Central Florida initially as snowbirds. But we've come to love the warmth and friendly people offered by this community and decided to move down to Windermere, FL full time in 2006. I am now spending time sharing information/ knowledge online, promoting understanding of math and solar energy (via http://www.sunisthefuture.net ), and developing Windermere Sun (http://www.WindermereSun.com) as an online publication, sharing and promoting Community ABC's (Activities-Businesses-Collaborations) for healthier/happier/more sustainable living. In the following posts, I'll be sharing with you some of the reasons why Windermere has attracted us to become full-time residents of Central Florida region. Please feel free to leave your comments via email at "Contact Us" in the topbar above or via info.WindermereSun@gmail.com.
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