20 OCT 2016
These things actually exist.
Astrophysicists have witnessed tiny ripples forming on Earth’s ‘bow shock’ – the plasma shockwaves produced when solar winds smash into Earth’s magnetic field.
While the ripples have long been hypothesised, actually finding them in space has proven a challenge. Now, researchers have been able to study them for the first time, and it could help us to finally understand cosmic rays.
The breakthrough came thanks to thanks to NASA’s Magnetospheric MultiScale satellites (MMS).
“With the new MMS spacecraft we can, for the first time, resolve the structure of the bow shock at these small scales,” said team leader Andreas Johlander, from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF).
So, what are these ripples and where do they come from?
Much of the visible matter in the Universe is actually plasma, a hot ionised gas. This plasma…
View original post 356 more words