Scientists develop low-cost system to monitor space weather from Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — A research team at Nagoya University in Japan used a sensor made by Aichi Steel Corporation to build a magnetic impedance sensor magnetometer (MIM) that measures fluctuations in the Earth‘s geomagnetic field.

Since geomagnetic fluctuations are closely related to phenomena occurring in outer space, researchers in the fields of upper atmospheric and space physics can use MIM to determine the state of space weather from Earth without the use of satellites.

The scientists reported the results in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.

“Space travel has become more common in recent years. In addition, the Gateway joint projects of Japan, the US and the EU were launched to build a space station in lunar orbit,” explains lead author Masahito Nose.

“Therefore, we need more real-time space weather information to know what is happening in space in terms of spacecraft safety and maintenance.”

Although people often think of space as a vacuum, it is filled with cosmic plasma, which is made up of charged particles trapped in hot gas.

When these particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, they cause space weather effects such as geomagnetic storms that can affect satellites, space stations and astronauts.

Environmental changes occurring in space can be observed from Earth as they are transmitted as electromagnetic waves along the Earth’s magnetic field.

Unfortunately, standard approaches to making such observations do not always work, since it is necessary to record weak fluctuations of the magnetic field, which often form part of the magnitude of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Scientists have developed a low-cost system to measure the Earth’s magnetic field using the magnetic impedance effect, which was discovered in 1993.

MIM is suitable for observations of phenomena such as storms caused by an increase in the dynamic pressure of the solar wind and long-term geomagnetic pulsations. It is lightweight, energy efficient and relatively inexpensive.

This should facilitate the creation of a multi-point observing network that could accelerate monitoring of the space environment and space weather research.

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