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Earth Science

Scientists Find Hole In Earth's Magnetic Field 200

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-tan dept.
Velorium writes "The Earth's magnetic field has been found to have two large holes that are making Earth's surface vulnerable to solar winds. Despite what scientists originally thought, these holes allow 20 times the normal amount of solar particles through when they are facing away from the sun. This is the opposite of what the scientists had first speculated."
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Scientists Find Hole In Earth's Magnetic Field

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  • by fucket (1256188) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:25PM (#26155515)
    ...as the demand for tinfoil hats reaches an all-time high.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:26PM (#26155525)

    A bright shaft of light is going to sneak through the hole in the field and melt the Golden Gate Bridge. Just you wait.

    At least we can be safe at night. ...Probably...

  • Hmmm.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:26PM (#26155527)
    If global warming is presumably caused by SUVs, what are holes in the magnetic field caused by? Too many cell phones?
    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:28PM (#26155551)

      If global warming is presumably caused by SUVs, what are holes in the magnetic field caused by? Too many cell phones?

      The results of a runaway experiment after "Bring your daughter to work day" at Aperture Science?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        but its ok, they were doing it for the cake

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by RazzleDazzle (442937)

        awww jeez. I bet its that damn LHC again. If it's not causing tiny black holes in our atmosphere it's making large gaping holes in our magnetic field.

        • by Cowmonaut (989226)
          Second erroneous Troll modding in so many hours. Apparently the mods that normally correct the wrongs are out today.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Knave75 (894961)

      My guess is that the holes are caused by violent video games.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Perhaps the SUV claim is actually wrong and there is an extra amount of UV radiation which is why the poles seem to be melting at below freezing temperatures.

    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:53PM (#26155801)
      Shhhhh.... Don't give the anti-cellphone nut jobs any ideas.
    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:10AM (#26156375)

      Physics.

      These aren't unusual, new, or different in any way to what has always happened. Despite the alarmist summary, the point of the article was that more particles sneak through the magnetosphere when the fields of the sun and earth are aligned (opposite to what was believed) and that we had a satellite in the right place to watch this happening.

      • by Thelasko (1196535)
        There has been a hole in the magnetic field for years, it's called the South Atlantic Anomaly. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If global warming is presumably caused by SUVs, what are holes in the magnetic field caused by? Too many cell phones?

      No; it's from an attempt to create a magnetic field that uses twenty percent less magnetism; they create holes that cover 20% of the field. It's known as the Eco-Magnetic field.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Not enough faith blasphemer! Bow down before the even more burning earth.

    • Re:Hmmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Blain (264390) <slashdot@[ ]inn.com ['bla' in gap]> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:32AM (#26157791) Homepage Journal

      George Bush. Everything is his fault.

      Expect the holes to start closing in about five weeks.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Hybrid SUV's.

  • "The Earth's magnetic field has been found to have two large holes that are making Earth's surface vulnerable to solar winds"

    I am wondering what is between the two large holes?
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:30AM (#26156519)

      "The Earth's magnetic field has been found to have two large holes that are making Earth's surface vulnerable to solar winds"

      I am wondering what is between the two large holes?

      A region of the earth known as the magnetic perineum.

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    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Since they're at opposite poles, the answer is: Earth.

  • Holes near poles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by panoptical2 (1344319) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:30PM (#26155591)
    Um, for years, haven't we known that the earth's magnetosphere was missing near the poles? (the Aurora Borealis, anyone?)
    • Re:Holes near poles (Score:4, Informative)

      by hydrofix (1253498) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:46AM (#26157893)
      Exactly. The article subject is totally utterly incorect - we have known that Earth's magnetic field has two holes on each pole for decades. It's the very reason that causes Aurora Borealis or the northen lights. Here in Northern Europe, which is famous for the display of colorful northern lights, it's actually part of the school curriculum to teach children what physically causes this effect, and even my little brother can tell you that Earth's magnetic field has two huge holes around the poles. The NASA article is about the effects these sun wind particles have on Earth's biosphere.
  • Screw you guys. Two of my friends died there.

    One in each hole.
  • by Zwicky (702757) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:46PM (#26155743)

    I left my ACME Megalaser of Doom plugged in overnight, on the 'degaussing' setting. Honestly, I thought it was just on 'charge'.

    Awfully sorry. It won't happen again. Promise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry to go off topic, but did you ever notice how quick ACME's shipping was? As soon as Wiley Coyote or Bugs Bunny dropped a letter in the mail, a truck arrived within seconds with his package. The logistics behind their supply chain management was incredible. Sure, they were A Company that Makes Everything, but I was always impressed on their shipping response time.

      • by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:31AM (#26157789) Journal

        ACMEis a large mulitfaceted industrial and services company that owns both a package delivery conglomerate which includes matter replication and temporal transmission systems. Since they are a large monopoly spanning not only Earth but several thousand inhabited systems in several hundred universes they have access to a wide array of products and services and the ability to deliver them to customers who subjectively observe that delivery occurs nearly instantaneously.

        Their only failing is having some of the parts for that system made in China.

        No one has explained how Bugs Bunny could always get good product though it has been postulated he had the uncanny ability to manipulate events at a quantum level and ensure positive outcomes at the macro level.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Bugs Bunny is the secret owner of Acme, along with he partner the Roadrunner.

          When you realize those to run a large galactic corporation, it all makes sense.

  • by Slashdotgirl (912338) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:48PM (#26155773)
    There's a hole in the Mag Field, dear Liza, dear Liza,

    There's a hole in the Mag Field dear Liza, a hole.

    So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
    So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, FIX IT,

    With what should I fix it, dear Liza dear Liza,
    With what should I fix it, dear Liza with what?

    With a Greenie, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
    With a Greenie, dear Henry, dear Henry, with Greenie's (sigh),

    Regards
    Slashdot Girl

  • Solar power (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271)
    i wonder if it would be viable to put large solar arrays in these areas. sounds like a good opportunity for free energy. assuming we don't find a way to fix it (assuming we want to).
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Apparently a lot of cosmic rays are coming through there. We aren't advanced enough to like cosmic rays.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Getting them to stay there would be pretty hard. Plus the particles in question are mostly protons and some free electrons. Probably not so good for your solar collector.

  • by djupedal (584558) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:11AM (#26155947)
    ...before the LHC "we see nothing". And now, after the LHC was turned on... "oh, look at the too shiny two holes!" - coincidence?
  • Mayans (Score:4, Funny)

    by IrritableBeing (1281212) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:11AM (#26155949)
    Were the Mayans correct in predicting the world's end for 2012?

    Quote from TFA:

    "Understanding how these holes form will help them better predict the electrical storms that cause power grid blackouts and the aurora, activity that will peak in 2012 as sunspots hit their maximum level."

    Please God let Diablo III come out before then.
  • I read TFA however I am not quite sure what this means.

    Did we cause it? Or has this been happening and we just didn't know about it?

    Does this affect climate change?

    What are the repercussions of these holes?

    Thanks!

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:14AM (#26156405)

      No, we didn't cause it. Yes, it's always been happening, but yes we always knew about it. We just had one of the details backwards - more particles get through when the sun and earth fields are aligned rather than opposite, as was previously believed.

      No, it doesn't affect climate change. The repercussions is that the poles get aurorae (revolutionary, I know, particularly as I grew up under them), and that if we get a really bad solar storm with the right conditions it can be bad for the power grid. As has been dramatically demonstrated several times ever since we started building power grids.

  • by kwabbles (259554) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:20AM (#26156015)

    Heh. You guys thought they took it offline because it had a little glitch.

  • ...there used to be only one but Earth missed a VIG payment.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Merc248 (1026032)

    Did the tag just tell me to tap it?

    If Hip-Hop has told me anything, it is to tap any hole that is tappable. I am jealous that the physicists have outdone us again. :(

  • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:16AM (#26156765) Journal

    Perhaps the Earth's magnetic poles are about to flip [blogspot.com].

    Supposedly it won't kill us all [foxnews.com]....

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Depends.

      IS it a quick flip? then no it won't kill us. Is it a slow flip, then it will kill enough to destroy civilization, at the least.

  • They are Magneto's sisters!

  • Bad Summary? (Score:5, Informative)

    by NotmyNick (1089709) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:47AM (#26156909)

    Despite what scientists originally thought, these holes allow 20 times the normal amount of solar particles through when they are facing away from the sun. This being opposite from what the scientists had originally speculated.

    Apparently submitted by the department of redundancy department apparently, the problem is that's not what the article actually says.

    Scientists once believed that the particles entered when the sun's magnetic field was aligned opposite to that of the Earth's. But findings presented at the meeting show that 20 times more solar particles enter the Earth's magnetic field when it is aligned in the same direction as the sun's magnetic field.

    It the alignment of the fields North-to-South being discussed and nightside effects are not explicitly discussed. Some clarification by a physicist would seem in order.

  • Please don't tell me this is another thing Al Gore can blame on llamas, diet grains, or methane cows, please.

    (Yes, totally unrelated joke. I'm bored tonight. Deal.)

  • The variable is that the sun is at a low point in activity right now. I wonder if we'll see a larger failure rate of satellites orbiting the region. I guess it's extra tin-foil for them too. How would you go about shielding something that big from electrical fields that strong?
  • ...activity that will peak in 2012 as sunspots hit their maximum level.

    Could this be what the Mayan's were on about?

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Given that sunspot activity peaks every couple years, probably not.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      No.
      13.0.0.0.0 is just then end of the system. Highly accurate for the time. Based on the number system they used.

      Everything else is people falling prey to the sharpshooter fallacy, or selling books..or starting cults.

  • Is this something that they've just discovered or something that's normal? Just because they just now found it doesn't mean that it's new.

  • Can we somehow turn the extra energy coming through that hole into electricity? If so, can regular solar panels do it?

  • Seriously we could nuke the comet to blanket the earth with anti radiation particles for when the earth's core 'stops'. The Golden Gate Bridge will of course have to be melted.

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