Earth’s magnetosphere is regularly battered by a huge mass of particles that escape the sun’s gravitational pull. This is called a solar wind.
The planet’s magnetosphere acts as a ready made defence system. However, this mechanism is sometimes broken by an occurrence known as magnetic reconnection when the sun’s electrical currents stream through the natural shield.
New research has discovered that when this occurs, plasma particles come to our rescue.
This plasma travels the planet’s magnetic lines regularly reinforcing the shield. They reach a so called ‘merging point’ where the particles slow the magnetic reconnection.
This phenomenon can cause massive storms in the upper layers of the atmosphere and scientists and astronomers claim that the plasma plumes are integral to Earth’s protection.