NASA finds unique ‘zebra stripes’ in Earth’s radiation belt

March 23, 2014 / No Comments

The inner radiation belt has some unique zebra-esque striped pattern to display, according to the recent finding of NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes.

Zebra stripes NASA finds unique zebra stripes in Earths radiation belt

Back in 1958, astrophysicist James Van Allen had discovered two large regions of radiation in shape of doughnut surrounding earth, and they was named Van Allen belts after the discoverer.

The inner Van Allen belt is particularly known to be risky for satellites and humans, when substantial amount of time spent inside the belt, which is mainly due to the presence of energized electrons and protons. The inner belt spreads between 500 and 8,000 miles.

NASA had launched twin Van Allen Probes back in 2012, to find the behavior of both belts.  Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment or RBSPICE as often called is an instrument, which detected the odd striped pattern.

The latest findings also disapproved the previous belief that the solar activity is the reason behind the structures. It is now known that the rotation and tilted magnetic axis of earth is indeed the cause behind the phenomenon of unique zebra like patterns.

Known project scientist, Barry Mauk, also said that the new finding tells new things about the operating of the universe and also mentioned that a similar instrument to RBSPICE has been sent and is on way to NASA’s Juno mission in Jupitor, where the same patterns will be searched for existance on Jupiter’s radiation belts.

Van Allen belts of Jupiter is huge in comparison to earth with radiation that’s powerful by more than a million times. NASA’s mission to Jupiter is expected to reach by July 2016.