Satellite ‘compasses’ open new window on space weather
07 November 2018
Researchers have tested a clever new method of monitoring the impact of solar storms on Earth's magnetic field, based on harnessing the compass-like magnetometers that space missions used to check their orientation.
Some satellites carry extremely sensitive magnetometers for scientific studies; these instruments are placed on booms, away from stray magnetic field sources inside the parent satellite.
But many more satellites host less sensitive magnetometers, called ‘platform magnetometers' that work like compasses, measuring Earth's magnetic field to check satellites are pointed in the correct position.
Image credit: ESA - Swarm constellation