NASA's Van Allen Probes Detect 'Artificial Bubble Circle' Encircling Earth, Watch Video

Joan Terry
May 19, 2017

"A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth", said Phil Erickson, assistant director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Haystack Observatory in the US.

Researchers are testing whether VLF radiation could be used to rid the upper atmosphere of excess radiation. Researchers recently discovered that the particles from nuclear tests were lofted into belts circling the Earth, causing geomagnetic storms and even damaging a few satellites.

Between 1958 and 1962, the United States and USSR conducted high-altitude nuclear explosion tests, detonating weapons as high as 250 miles above the surface. "If we understand what happened in the somewhat controlled and extreme event that was caused by one of these man-made events, we can more easily understand the natural variation in the near-space environment". NASA's Van Allen Probes, which were launched in 2012 have tracked down a circle of "bubbles", around the Earth, which scientists have dubbed as "Manmade Space Weather".

These belts are formed when particles emitted by the sun get caught up in our magnetic pull and form eddies around the Earth.

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The existence of VLF bubble has also been verified by spacecrafts in the space, such as NASA's Van Allen Probes, which study electrons and ions in the near-Earth environment.

New data from the probes has revealed that very low frequency, or VLF, radio communications from Earth have been found to interact with particles in space, which has pushed the Van Allen Belts farther out.

The particles remained trapped in these regions for weeks and, in one case, years, affecting electronic systems aboard high-flying satellites. By comparing the energies of the particles, it is possible to distinguish the fission-generated particles and those naturally occurring in the Van Allen belts. Because of this thrust, the lower limits of the emission flows are actually sitting far away from Earth than they were in the 1960s. Sudden geomagnetic storms were observed from Sweden to Arizona and scientists used the observed time of the events to determine the speed at which the particles from the explosion traveled. Unlike the artificial radiation belts, these geomagnetic effects were short-lived, lasting only seconds.

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