UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Probably the most famous manifestations of the Earth’s magnetic field are the northern and southern lights. When charged particles from the solar wind hit the Earth’s magnetic field, they can cause spectacular lighting effects.
For many years, scientists thought that the charged particles that cause these manifestations were moving in equal amounts towards the North and South Poles.
However, recent research by a group of scientists from the University of Alberta showed that there are actually more charged particles in the north than in the south. Now the question is: why?
The data used by the scientists was collected by the Swarm satellites, a coalition of 3 satellites that have been observing the Earth’s magnetic field since 2013.
And it was noticed: the south magnetic pole of the Earth “further from the axis of rotation of our planet than the north magnetic pole,” – says Ivan Pakhotin, lead author of the article.
This leads to differences in the reflection of electromagnetic waves known as Alfvén waves, which ultimately cause differences in how the North and South Poles interact with the solar wind.
This measured asymmetry can mean anything. First, the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere can vary greatly between the North and South Poles, which can have a significant impact on the Earth’s climate. But it can also show up in the difference between the two auroras.
The effect of asymmetry is not yet clear and requires further study. Swarm will continue its mission of collecting data that will be relevant to solving the mystery.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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