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Trapped Radiation and the South Atlantic Anomaly

Introduction

This topic discusses the effect of the geomagnetic field in trapping cosmic radiation around the Earth. The trapped radiation follows clearly defined paths, or 'magnetic tubes' that cause particles to travel repeatedly along lines of confinement within the magnetosphere. These lines of confinement come down close to the Earth's surface in certain regions, and where satellite orbits cross these regions the high density of the confined particles can be clearly measured using sensors on the spacecraft.

In this topic, these phenomena are discussed in more detail, and you are presented with real satellite data that map the areas of increased particle radiation above the earth. The most striking of these regions is the South Atlantic Anomaly, where intense proton fluxes are observed over the Atlantic ocean to the East of Argentina.

This material follows naturally on from the 'Radiation from Space (I) - the Magnetosphere and Solar Protons' topic which introduces some important preliminary concepts. You should study Radiation from Space (I) before this topic.

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