Earth’s magnetic shield creates a barrier between that which makes our world a habitable place, and those elements which would destroy our planet. Unfortunately, due to a powerful geomagnetic storm, this barrier now contains a crack.
Since a massive burst of galactic cosmic rays occurred on June 22, 2015, researchers have been studying the data from the GRAPES-3 muon telescope in Ooty, Italy. According to the telescope, the Earth’s magnetosphere was attacked by particles which emit a massive amount of high-energy radiation and travel through space at about the same velocity as the speed of light.
Around 40 hours before the event took place, the Sun’s corona ejected a gigantic cloud of plasma, which made its way to the Earth’s magnetosphere at speeds of around 2.5 million kilometers per hour.
In a detailed analysis led by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), it was discovered that the plasma particles found their way through a strange and temporary gap in the magnetic field of planet Earth.
Due to the plasma’s entry into the field, it caused the size of the field itself to shrink from being 11 times the radius of Earth to a mere four times. The result was a geomagnetic storm that boosted the illumination of the Northern Lights, but also devastated various radio networks for quite a bit of time.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rated the storm as a G4, or as a severe storm. Many researchers believe that his storm was the likely culprit of the crack. Thankfully, the crack was only temporary, however, this incident went to show scientists worldwide that the magnetic field can indeed become cracked. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent that from happening again either. What can be said for the occurrence is that scientists and researchers will become better prepared for such an event if it were to happen again in the near future.