Project Proposal: Earth’s Van Allen Belts

Earth’s Van Allen Radiation Belts are areas of concentrated charged particles surrounding the planet due in part to its naturally generated magnetic field. These particles come from the Sun’s solar wind and are divided into two layers whose borders are the magnetic field lines. While these radiation belts are not unique to Earth, they are of utmost importance to us when considering safe space travel and the placement of satellites. The goal of my project is to use Mathematica and publicly supplied data to model the Earth’s magnetic field. Next, that model will be used to define the location of Earth’s Van Allen Belts. These experimental values will then be compared to the observed values of the belts in order to determine the accuracy of the model which can then hopefully be altered to determine the equivalent belts on other planets.

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One thought on “Project Proposal: Earth’s Van Allen Belts

  1. Jenny MagnesJenny Magnes

    – This is a great project to educate non-Astronomers about the role and effects of the Earths magnetic field.
    – It might be challenging to model the Earth’s magnetic field. Consider using approximations and/or pre-existing models.

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