"Spacequakes" Discovered in Earth's Upper Atmosphere
The space weather phenomenon swirls auroras and can spawn magnetic "twisters" that can knock out power lines, a new study says.
The space weather phenomenon—technically a strong vibration in the planet's magnetic field—can affect auroras and can spawn "space twisters" capable of bringing down power lines.
(Related: "Aurora 'Power Surges' Triggered by Magnetic Explosions.")
In general, Earth's magnetic field lines can be thought of as rubber bands stretched taut by the solar wind, which is actually charged particles flowing in all directions from the sun, said study co-author Vassilis Angelopoulos, a space physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Earth's magnetic tail is the part of the field that's stretched out like a windsock by the sun's steady bombardment.
New data from a suite of NASA satellites called