Research and Application News
Swarm details energetic coupling
15 February 2018
The Sun bathes our planet in the light and heat it needs to sustain life, but it also bombards us with dangerous charged particles in solar wind. Our magnetic field largely shields from this onslaught, but like many a relationship, it's somewhat complicated. Thanks to ESA's Swarm mission the nature of this Earth–Sun coupling has been revealed in more detail than ever before.
Earth's magnetic field is like a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles carried by powerful winds that escape the Sun's gravitational pull and sweep across the Solar System.
The trio of Swarm satellites were launched in 2013 to improve our understanding of how the field is generated and how it protects us from this barrage of charged particles.
Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab - Earth's protective shield - The magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable impact on every day life. The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in solar winds.