A spacecraft fleet belonging to NASA has recently discovered a new kind of magnetic phenomenon that occurs in Earth’s magnetic field outer layer. This is a very important discovery, according to experts, mainly because it might provide them with answers regarding the influence of this phenomenon on our planet. Also, it could shed some light on the role it plays in other areas of the universe. The other name of this event is magnetic reconnection, which NASA’s unmanned Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission spacecraft stumbled upon recently.
It’s worth noting that NASA launched the MMS spacecraft back in 2015 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex. It had one very important mission: to gather information regarding the microphysics of this mysterious phenomenon. In the past, experts have witnessed this event taking place in various parts of the universe, including in a region called the magnetosphere. This is located somewhere in our planet’s magnetic fields. Moreover, they also managed to analyze how the ionized hydrogen atoms were emanating from it. Recently, the team caught a glimpse of this fascinating phenomenon once more. This time, it occurred in an area known as the magnetosheath.
The mysterious event called magnetic reconnection
The area called magnetosheath is actually located above the planet and has the purpose of protecting Earth against the solar wind. The newly-observed phenomenon also has another name, electron magnetic reconnection, as it’s a bit different from the one they initially observed. Instead of ionized hydrogen atoms, it emanates smaller electron jets. These electrons are much faster than the ions and a lot more difficult to keep track of.
It’s worth noting that these turbulent magnetic fields that are surrounding our planet are caused by solar wind when it hits Earth’s magnetic field. This discovery is very important as it could one day lead to a better understanding of space environment. Also, one day, we might know more about the universe’s properties and how they function.
Image source: flickr