Observing the Birkeland currents borne of the solar wind

Watts Up With That?

When the supersonic solar wind hits the Earth’s magnetic field, a powerful electrical connection occurs with Earth’s field, generating millions of amperes of current that drive the dazzling auroras. These so-called Birkeland currents connect the ionosphere to the magnetosphere and channel solar wind energy to Earth’s uppermost atmosphere. Solar storms release torrential blasts of solar wind that cause much stronger currents and can overload power grids and disrupt communications and navigation.

birkel;and_currents_sun Plots of AMPERE magnetic perturbations and radial current density from the northern hemisphere for 24 February 2014 with start times from 1530 UT through 1700 UT.

Now for the first time, scientists are making continuous, global measurements of the Birkeland currents, opening a new window on our understanding of our home planet’s response to solar storms. Using the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment, based on the 66 Iridium satellites orbiting the Earth, authors of a Geophysical Research Letters study 

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2 thoughts on “Observing the Birkeland currents borne of the solar wind

  1. Thanks for posting this information.

    Information on the source of energy in the Sun’s core has been forbidden since the end of WWII because that same source of energy in cores of uranium and plutonium atoms destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • Immediately after WWII ended, text-books on astronomy, solar and nuclear physics were changed [1]:

      1. Mainstream opinions on the internal composition of the Sun changed abruptly from:

      _ a.) Mostly iron (Fe) in 1945 to
      _ b.) Mostly hydrogen (H) in 1946

      2. F. W. Aston’s valid nuclear packing fraction was replaced with Carl von Weizsacker’s invalid nuclear binding energy.

      False Standard Models of Stars and Nuclei obscured the source of energy that:

      _ a.) Powers the Sun [1], and
      _ b.) Destroyed Hiroshima [1]

      1. “Solar energy,” Advances in Astronomy (submitted 1 Sept 2014) https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Solar_Energy.pdf

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