Astronomers have captured first 3D images of large plasma tubes present around the Earth. The cosmic cinema depicts large dynamic structures of plasma tubes moving around the planet in semicircular manner.
The region around Earth in which charged particles are controlled by Earth’s magnetic field is known as magnetosphere. Magnetosphere is filled with plasma generated from ionization by sunlight in the atmosphere. Inner layers- plasmasphere- of Earth’s magnetosphere have tubular plasma structures.
“The discovery of the structures is important because they cause unwanted signal distortions that could, as one example, affect our civilian and military satellite-based navigation systems. So we need to understand them.” said Cleo Loi of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.
Loi used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a radio telescope in the Western Australian desert. She scaled the regions of sky and developed 3D real time movie showing the real time movements of plasma tubes.
Loi has been awarded the 2015 Bok Prize of the Astronomical Society of Australia for this work on imaging plasma tubes. The complete work is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters under the name ‘Real-time imaging of density ducts between the plasmasphere and ionosphere’.
Following video explains the plasma structures surrounding the Earth:
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