Radiation halo of the Earth

The solar system is not only planets, asteroids, comets, it's also interplanetary space, which is far from emptiness! In the cosmos, complex, diverse processes occur at high altitudes, in which the radiation halo of the Earth plays an important role.

In the cosmos, complex, diverse processes occur at high altitudes, in which the radiation halo of the Earth plays an important role

From the depths of the universe to the Earth come cosmic rays - the nucleus of atoms of hydrogen, helium and other chemical elements. Interacting with the nuclei of the atoms of the air, they practically do not reach the surface of the Earth. This interaction is mainly carried out in the troposphere, a ground layer of air about 15-20 km thick, in which approximately four-fifths of the entire mass of the Earth's atmosphere is concentrated. It would seem that with increasing altitude the intensity of cosmic radiation should remain constant, but the results of observations confirmed the increase in the intensity of cosmic radiation with altitude. In addition, the dependence of the intensity on the latitude was found. All because there is, so-called, the radiation halo of the Earth. This is a kind of halo of charged particles consisting of two radiation zones - internal and external, the boundaries of which can vary depending on physical conditions, and all near-Earth space is completely filled with particles of different "varieties" that have different charges and energies.

The radiation halo of the Earth is closely related to terrestrial magnetism. Calculations show that the charged particles of the zones move along the magnetic field lines of the earth's magnetic field from one magnetic pole to the other. As we approach the pole, the magnetic lines of force, which all converge at this point, approach each other and "thicken", the motion of the particles slows down, and, eventually, they begin to move in the opposite direction. The opposite pole repeats the same and the particles again turn back. This is a kind of "magnetic trap" for charged particles. Charged particles in a magnetic trap can experience collisions with environmental particles, gradually losing their energy and "dropping out of the game".

In order for the charged particle to penetrate the radiation halo of the Earth to a sufficiently close distance to its surface, it must overcome the magnetic field of our planet. Only high-energy particles can do this. But such particles freely permeate through the radiation belts and can not be captured by a magnetic trap. It turns out a paradox: in order to get into the composition of the radiation zone, the electron or proton must move at a low speed, which provides the possibility of capture. But such particles will be thrown back by the earth's magnetic field.

How does the radiation halo of the Earth arise? At first it was assumed that the suppliers of particles for the radiation halo of the Earth are neutrons, which are formed in the earth's atmosphere as a result of its bombardment by cosmic rays. However, many years of observations and research have led scientists to believe that the thickness of cosmic rays is too low to be considered the main cause of the radiation halo of the Earth. The decay of neutrons does take place, but it is not the main supplier of particles for the radiation aureole of the Earth.

At present, it can be considered established that the predominant mass of particles of the radiation halo of the Earth falls into a magnetic trap from the solar wind. When the solar wind interacts with the magnetosphere of the Earth, disturbances of the earth's magnetic field can occur. Something like a kind of channels for the arrival of charged particles inside the magnetic trap is created. The "precipitation" of charged particles that occurs at the same time in the atmosphere causes one of the most beautiful phenomena of nature - polar lights.

However, the mechanism of this phenomenon is not yet clear. For example, measurements show that the energy of the solar wind is almost unchanged. Meanwhile, the energy of aurorae changes tens of thousands of times.

Interest in the radiation halo of the Earth is explained by one more circumstance. It is very likely that the radiation halo of the Earth is an important transfer link in the mechanism of the effect of solar activity on geophysical phenomena.

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