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Northern lights social network reveals true scale of magnetic storms



  Northern Lights
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Magnetic interference caused by phenomena such as the Northern Lights can be traced by a "social network" of terrestrial instruments, according to a new study by the University of Warwick.


The researchers, led by Professor Sandra Chapman of the University's Institute of Physics, have for the first time characterized the observations from over 1

00 terrestrial magnetometers for a time-varying directional network of connections. They monitor the development of geomagnetic substances using the same mathematics used to study social networks. The magnetometers free each other when they see the same signal of a propagation disorder.

The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters allows the development of more accurate models of substances and helps us to understand the impact of space on our electrical and communications systems.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, arise when charged particles from our Sun bombard the Earth's magnetic field. This stores energy as a battery as it releases, creating large-scale electrical currents in the ionosphere that generate disturbances of magnetic fields on the ground. Small versions of these substorms are common, but sometimes larger storms will occur which may have greater influence.

The magnetic field from terrestrial magnetometers in the auroral area overlayed over space-based images of Aurora. Credit: SuperMAG

Using over 100 magnetometers forming the SuperMAG Initiative led by Dr. Jesper Gjerloev, the researchers used the mathematical concepts from network science to monitor the development of substorms in the Arctic auroral region. As a sub-current develops and the electric current in the ionosphere grows, some magnetometers detect a change in the magnetic field. Couples of magnetometers were connected when their measurements correlated with each other, expanding their network of "friends," and allowing scientists to monitor how the auroral disorder of the subormet shapes and shapes, and how fast.

Substorm from Aurora Borealis creates an electric current in the atmosphere that echoes on the ground. Local changes in the Earth's magnetic field can interfere with power lines, electronic communications systems, and technologies such as GPS. They are only a form of space values ​​that constantly affect our planet.

The dynamic network constructed from the magnetometer data, indicating which magnetometers see the same widespread signal. Credit: University of Warwick

Professor Sandra Chapman of the University of Warwick Department of Physics stated: "When talking about space, it is useful to give a single figure or rating indicating how serious it is. capture the full behavior of how intense the event is, how widespread and how fast it changes. Our goal is to use networking science to develop useful parameters that do this, encapsulating all information from 100+ observations. [19659005] "SuperMAG is a good example of how important international co-operation is to solve problems like the space shuttle that is in the planet, using data from stations in all the countries adjacent to the polar circle. "


Northern Light secrets uncovered thanks to social networking tools


More Information:
L. Orr et al. Direct network of substances using SuperMAG-based magnetometer data, Geophysical research letters (2019). DOI: 10, 1029 / 2019GL082824

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University of Warwick

Citation :
Northern lights' social network reveals true scale of magnetic storms (2019, June 21)
June 21, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-northern-social-networking-reveals-true.html

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