An extreme distortion of the Van Allen belt arising from the ‘Hallowe’en’ solar storm in 2003

TitleAn extreme distortion of the Van Allen belt arising from the ‘Hallowe’en’ solar storm in 2003
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBaker, DN, Kanekal, SG, Li, X, Monk, SP, Goldstein, J, Burch, JL
JournalNature
Volume432
Pagination878 - 881
Date Published12/2004
ISSN0028-0836
KeywordsShock-Induced Transport. Slot Refilling and Formation of New Belts.
AbstractThe Earth's radiation belts—also known as the Van Allen belts1—contain high-energy electrons trapped on magnetic field lines2, 3. The centre of the outer belt is usually 20,000–25,000 km from Earth. The region between the belts is normally devoid of particles2, 3, 4, and is accordingly favoured as a location for spacecraft operation because of the benign environment5. Here we report that the outer Van Allen belt was compressed dramatically by a solar storm known as the ‘Hallowe'en storm’ of 2003. From 1 to 10 November, the outer belt had its centre only ~10,000 km from Earth's equatorial surface, and the plasmasphere was similarly displaced inwards. The region between the belts became the location of high particle radiation intensity. This remarkable deformation of the entire magnetosphere implies surprisingly powerful acceleration and loss processes deep within the magnetosphere.
URLhttp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v432/n7019/full/nature03116.html
DOI10.1038/nature03116


Page Last Modified: July 28, 2014