Military transmitter suggests new way to combat solar flares

June 9th, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne , June 9 (ANI): A chance observation by scientists studying the atmosphere above an Australian military transmitter suggests a new way to combat the damaging effects of solar flares on orbiting satellites.

According to a report in ABC, solar flares disturb the magnetic field surrounding the earth and cause a build up of electrons, which can damage satellites orbiting the Earth.

Researcher Rory Gamble, a PhD student of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, has said that previous research suggested radio waves could be used to dissipate this build up of charge, by discharging electrons into the atmosphere.

But, scientists always thought this would need to be done from space.

The latest research shows it would be possible to do this from the ground.

Gamble and colleagues were using the research satellite DEMETER to investigate the behaviour of the magnetosphere when they picked up some interesting observations directly over the North West Cape military transmitter in Western Australia.

We were able to determine that this transmitter has a direct effect on the electrons in the radiation belts in the magnetosphere, said Gamble.

It caused those electrons to crash into the top of the atmosphere and be removed from the radiation belts, he added.

According to Gamble, this is the first study to show humans could control electrons in the magnetosphere from Earth.

Specially-designed radio transmitters could be aimed towards to sky to dissipate the electrons, once a solar flare was detected, he added. (ANI)

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