Image of IMAGE in space

New Method Pioneered for Measuring Space Plasmas and Fields


For the first time, D resonant waves in Earth's magnetosphere have been artificially excited from space. IMAGE's radio transmitters provided power to the plasma near the spacecraft to cause it to resonate at a number of natural frequencies. These frequencies could be related to the density and magnetic field strength of the plasma, providing scientists with accurate and direct measurements of these quantities.

(2002: Benson, Osherovich, Fainberg, Reinisch)

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Additional Information

Plasma -A complex mixture of atoms and electrically-charged particles. Typical space plasma contain uncharged atoms, electrons, protons and ions of various atoms.

Magnetosphere - An extension of Earth's magnetic field into space. It is s comet-like region extending about 70,000 km towards the Sun, and several million kilometers opposite the sun in a tail-like region. Trapped particles from cosmic rays, the solar wind, and the upper atmosphere form complex clouds and currents within this region.Some examples include the van Allen Belts, the plasmasphere and the ring current.

Resonance -The sounding board in a guitar vibrates in step with the note struck on the string and amplifies the sound. Similarly a plasma can resonate 'in step' with a source of electromagnetic energy such as radio waves, and it will 'vibrate' at specific frequencies that depend on the properties of the plasma.

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Rev. 1.0.0, 24 April 2003, EVB II