NASA says weird ‘magnetic dent’ in the Earth just split in two
For the last couple of days, NASA scientists have been watching something very strange happen in the atmosphere above South America and the Atlantic Ocean.
Dubbed the South Atlantic Anomaly, there is now a strange dent in the earth’s magnetic field – the one that protects us from harmful radiation from the sun.
That dent has now just split in two, which could have dire consequences.
With a lower magnetic protective barrier above the earth, that allows more radiation to bombard satellites as they fly over that part of the earth. Satellites are not fans of radiation (indeed, radiation isn’t good for a great many things) as high levels of radiation can cause them to shut down or break.
Satellites going down isn’t a good thing for a variety of reasons, from the ability to watch live sport, make phone calls or use your smartphone’s map apps.
One concern is for the International Space Station – which flies through the anomaly on a regular basis. Fortunately, that carries additional shielding to protect astronauts who live and work in space.
"Even though the SAA [South Atlantic Anomaly] is slow-moving, it is going through some change in morphology, so it's also important that we keep observing it by having continued missions," said Terry Sabaka, a geophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in a statement.
“Because that’s what helps us make models and predictions”.
It is unknown whether or not the splitting of the dent will move the whole in the Earth’s magnetic layer to other parts of the world.
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