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Planetary Shields: Magnetospheres
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Date
Title
11 Feb 2014 NASA Spacecraft Get a 360-Degree View of Saturn's Auroras
NASA trained several pairs of eyes on Saturn as the planet put on a dancing light show at its poles. While NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet wavelengths. Cassini could also see northern and southern parts of Saturn that don't face Earth.
2 May 2013 'Tis the Season -- for Plasma Changes at Saturn
Researchers working with data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered one way the bubble of charged particles around Saturn -- known as the magnetosphere -- changes with the planet's seasons. The finding provides an important clue for solving a riddle about the planet's naturally occurring radio signal. The results might also help scientists better understand variations in Earth's magnetosphere and Van Allen radiation belts, which affect a variety of activities at Earth, ranging from space flight safety to satellite and cell phone communications.
26 Mar 2013 Measuring Mars: The MAVEN Magnetometer
When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission begins its journey to the Red Planet in 2013, it will carry a sensitive magnetic-field instrument built and tested by a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Scheduled for launch in late 2013, MAVEN will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The goal of MAVEN is to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space through time, providing answers about Mars' climate evolution.
28 Feb 2013 NASA's Van Allen Probes Discover a Surprise Circling Earth
Shortly before Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT) turned on, solar activity on the Sun had sent energy toward Earth that caused the radiation belts to swell. The REPT instrument worked well from the moment it was turned on; it made observations of these new particles trapped in the belts, recording their high energies, and the belts' increased size. Then something happened no one had ever seen before: the particles settled into a new configuration, showing an extra, third belt extending out into space. Within mere days of launch, the Van Allen Probes showed scientists something that would require rewriting textbooks.
21 Feb 2013 Measuring Saturn's 'Pulse'
A recent study provides the first detailed, quantitative model that reproduces most of the strange periodic signatures observed in the magnetic bubble around Saturn. It suggests a potential source of the planet's odd magnetic behavior in the planet's upper atmosphere.
19 Feb 2013 Cassini Sheds Light on Cosmic Particle Accelerators
During a chance encounter with what appears to be an unusually strong blast of solar wind at Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft detected particles being accelerated to ultra-high energies. This is similar to the acceleration that takes place around distant supernovas.

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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014