Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves

 

Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves
 

News: Scientists have identified Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron (EMIC) waves, a form of plasma waves in the Indian
Antarctic station, Maitri.
 

Background:

→ These waves play an important role in precipitation of killer electrons (electrons having speed close to speed of light, which form the radiation belt of planet Earth), which are hazardous to space-borne technology/instruments.

→ The study can help understand the impact of energetic particles in the radiation belts on the low orbiting satellites.
 

What are EMIC waves?

→ They are the discreet electromagnetic emissions observed in the Earth's magnetosphere.

→ These waves are generated in the equatorial latitudes and propagate along magnetic field lines to its footprint in the high latitude ionosphere.

→ Their signatures can be recorded in both space as well as ground-based magnetometers.
 

What are Plasma waves?

→ Plasma waves are a type of electromagnetic wave that propagates through plasma, which is a state of matter. Plasma is formed when a gas is heated to high temperatures or subjected to strong electric fields, causing its atoms to become ionised, meaning they lose or gain electrons and become charged particles.

→ More than 99% of the matter in the visible universe consists of plasma. Our Sun, solar wind, the interplanetary medium, near-Earth region, magnetosphere, and the upper part of our atmosphere all consist of plasma. 

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