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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

FIREBIRD II and NASA Mission Locate Whistling Space Electrons’ Origins

15 Nov 2017, 15:32 UTC
FIREBIRD II and NASA Mission Locate Whistling Space Electrons’ Origins Tony Phillips/NASA

Scientists have long known that solar-energized particles trapped around the planet are sometimes scattered into Earth’s upper atmosphere where they can contribute to beautiful auroral displays. Yet for decades, no one has known exactly what is responsible for hurling these energetic electrons on their way. Recently, two spacecraft found themselves at just the right places at the right time to witness first hand both the impulsive electron loss and its cause.

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