Radiation Belts

Radiation Belts

. Electrons and protons encircle the Earth within two donut-shaped, or torus-shaped, regions near the equator, trapped by the terrestrial magnetic field. These regions are now called the inner and outer Van Allen radiation belts, named after James A. Van Allen who first observed them with the Explorer 1 and 3 satellites in 1958. The inner beltís charged particles tend to have higher energies than those in the outer belt. The trapped particles can damage the microcircuits, solar arrays and other materials of spacecraft that pass through them.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University