In addition to explaining the complex physical structure of the Earth’s radiation belts, a major achievement of the NASA Van Allen Probes mission has been to understand how highly-energetic particles are accelerated deep inside the Van Allen Belts. These new studies show that electrons and protons in the magnetosphere can be energized on timescales of just a few minutes. This work also shows that strong solar storms (e.g., coronal mass ejections) almost always change the radiation belts in dramatic ways.
In this presentation, LASP Director Dan Baker describes the Van Allen Probes observations from September 2012 to October 2019. He will highlight data from the LASP-built Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope (REPT) that portray the acceleration, transport, and loss characteristics of Earth’s radiation belts. This analysis includes innovative display methods that highlight spatial features of the time variability of the outer Van Allen Belt and emphasizes the remarkable dynamics of the “cosmic accelerator” operating just a few thousand kilometers above our heads.
NOTICE: Lectures moved to a different LASP building, see above (free parking)