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Cluster:Origin of particle acceleration in cusps of Earth's magnetosphere uncovered

5 Jun 2012, 14:00 UTC
Cluster:Origin of particle acceleration in cusps of Earth's magnetosphere uncovered
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While flying through one of the cusps in Earth&aposs magnetic field, the four spacecraft of ESA&aposs Cluster mission have sampled the population of highly energetic particles that often fill these &aposcavities&apos. A study of the data shows that particles are accelerated locally, within the cusps, as they cross regions characterised by different electric potential - a configuration that results from magnetic reconnection events. This is an important contribution to the long-standing debate concerning how and where these particles are accelerated.

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