The ESA has deployed its constellation of satellites to investigate unusual weaknesses in Earth’s magnetic field. It appears that the strange anomaly believed to be responsible is now evolving and splitting in two.
The unexplained force, referred to as the South Atlantic Anomaly, is an area of reduced magnetic intensity that extends from South America to southwest Africa.
For now, the effects of this anomaly are restricted to technical malfunctions aboard spacecraft and orbital satellites. However, because Earth’s magnetic field shields us from solar winds and cosmic radiation, it’s a critical part of our planetary defence system, along with our atmosphere, which protects us from daily asteroid bombardment.
The European Space Agency (ESA) used its Swarm satellite constellation to study the phenomenon earlier this month, and the latest readings from the agency’s Data, Innovation and Science Cluster show a second anomaly is forming off West Africa. Researchers still don’t understand the risks associated with this more recent development.