August 8, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Geomagnetic Field Mirrors High-Energy Electrons Away from Earth

Another benefit of a global magnetic field
has been found, but it cannot last forever

 

Unlike the other rocky planets of the solar system, the Earth is blessed with a global magnetic field strong enough to deflect bullets. Those bullets are charged particles from the sun and cosmic rays.

Killer Electrons

Moving at near relativistic speeds, high-energy electrons would tear through flesh and strip away our atmosphere. Some make it through, but first they have to get past the bouncers. Those bouncers are neutral atoms in the ionosphere that hold up shields like mirrors that send them back where they came from, so to speak.”Our results clarify the unexpected role of the geomagnetic field surrounding the Earth in protecting the atmosphere from high energy electrons,” said a researcher in the following press release.

Geomagnetic Field Protects Earth from Electron Showers (Tohoku University, 3 Aug 2023). The “mirror force” provided by the geomagnetic field protects earth from high-speed electrons by a factor of ten. Since the shields impact the electrons higher up than thought, they act like a first line of defense against the electrons.

The Tohoku team, with colleagues in Germany and other institutions in Japan, developed a sophisticated software code that focused particular attention on simulating the effects of a relatively unstudied ‘mirror force’ on the electron precipitation. This is caused by the magnetic force acting on charged particles under the influence of the geomagnetic field.

The simulations demonstrated how the mirror force causes relativistic electrons to bounce back upwards, to an extent dependent on the angles at which the electrons arrive. The predicted effects mean that electrons collide with other charged particles higher in the ionosphere than previously suspected.

This diagram from the press release shows how the “mirror force” deflects energetic electrons.

Some of the electrons that make it through give Earth another benefit: they collide with oxygen molecules to make ozone. The ozone layer functions to reduce harmful ultraviolet rays that would damage the tissues of animals and humans.

Katoh emphasizes the key theoretical advance of the research is in revealing the surprising significance of the geomagnetic field and the mirror force in protecting the lower atmosphere from the effects of electron precipitation activities by keeping them further away.

For more on how the Earth’s magnetic field protects us from killer electrons, see these previous entries:

  • Van Allen Belts Protect Earth from Solar Wind (11 June 2018)
  • Earth Is a Safe Haven (23 May 2018)
  • Star Trek for Real: Impenetrable Force Field Protects Earth (29 Nov 2014)

How Long Can Our Shields Protect Us?

Scientists have known for a long time that the strength of Earth’s magnetic field has been declining steadily since it was first measured by Karl Frederick Gauss in the 1830s. Mainstream geophysicists believe that the field is generated by an internal dynamo deep in the Earth. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, however, dictates that the strength of that dynamo must decrease as energy becomes unavailable. Reversals cannot stop that decay. This is discussed in Ch. 7 of Dr Henry Richter’s book, linked below. If the decay can be extrapolated back in time, and if it continues going forward, it puts severe limits on the length of time the Earth could be habitable—tens of thousands of years at most, not billions.

Dr Richter’s book examines many amazing examples of design in our bodies, our planet, and the universe.

 

Exercise: Learn more about the “mirror force” and see if it acts independently from the protection offered by the Van Allen Belts described in our 11 June 2018 entry. Here is a link to the formal paper.

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