Sunday, 30 November 2014

Earth's Magnetic Field: Fine-Tuning Protects Us from Radiation

A cross section of the Van Allen radiation belts. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

Life as we know it could not exist if Earth did not have a magnetic field which protects us from charged particles emanating from the Sun.

Earth’s magnetic field forms the Van Allen radiation belts. According to an article in New Scientist:

“Far above Earth, this high-energy radiation from space can damage satellite electronics and pose serious health risks to astronauts. The particles also constantly charge towards the planet's surface, but luckily an invisible shield of plasma bent into a doughnut shape by Earth's magnetic field … keeps radiation at bay.”


Recent research disclosed an interesting detail:

A phenomenon called ‘plasmaspheric hiss’ seems to be responsible: very low-frequency electromagnetic waves just inside the boundary of the plasma shield that sound like hissing static when played through a speaker.”

What the article did not include was an admission that Earth’s magnetic field was most probably much stronger in the past, which might explain the long life spans of early humans living before the global flood of Noah’s day.


Graham, Flora. 2014. Invisible hissing doughnut is Earth's radiation shield. New Scientist (27 November).