ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Holes in earths magnetic shield

Updated on August 3, 2013
Earths Magnetic Field
Earths Magnetic Field | Source

The Earth behaves like a huge magnet and the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth like cocoon that protects it from harmful particles coming from the sun as solar wind- a stream of charged particles spewing from the Sun at 1.6 million km/h- especially during solar storms. The magnetic cocoon diverts the solar wind particles away over the Earth’s equatorial and temperate regions. But if the particles are energetic enough, as is the case during severe solar storms, then they can penetrate deeper into Earth’s atmosphere. But that happens only around the poles where the magnetic lines of force converge, giving rise to spectacular displays of auroras seen in polar latitudes.

But it has now been discovered that occasionally holes appear in Earth’s magnetic shield. Recent observations made by THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms), a fleet of five small NASA satellites, have revealed the largest hole yet seen in the magnetic field that protects Earth from most of the Sun’s violet blasts. Observations from THEMIS show the Earth’s magnetic field occasionally develops two holes, allowing solar wind to penetrate the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The holes are defying many of scientists’ previous ideas on how the interaction between Earth’s magnetosphere and solar wind occurs: From the location of the holes the whole interaction appears to works in a manner that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.

It has been known that the Sun’s magnetic field shifts its orientation frequently, sometimes becoming aligned with the Earth, sometime becoming anti-aligned. It was earlier believed that more solar particles entered Earth’s magnetosphere when the Sun’s field was oriented opposite to the Earth’s, but the opposite turned out to be the case here. Data from THEMIS showed that twenty times more solar wind passed into the Earth’s protective shield when the magnetic fields were aligned.

Using computer simulation scientists have been able to find out how the holes develop. They have discovered that two holes frequently develop in Earth’s magnetic field, one at high latitude over the Northern hemisphere, and one at high latitude over the Southern hemisphere. The holes form over the day-side of Earth, on the side of the magnetic shield facing the Sun.

This discovery not only has implications for scientists’ understanding of the interaction between the Sun and Earth’s magnetosphere, but for predicting the effects to Earth during the next peak in the solar cycle.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      9 years ago

      think of huge holes, bum bum bum horrible

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      super story.thanks for the information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)