Magnetic Waves Block Cosmic Rays

Magnetic Waves Block Cosmic Rays

. Within the ecliptic, or the plane of the solar equator, the magnetic fields of the solar wind are wound up in a spiral pattern due to the rotation of the Sun. Since the solar rotation velocity is lower at higher latitudes, the magnetic fields are oriented more or less radially above the solar poles. Scientists therefore predicted that the abundance of cosmic-ray ions would increase over the Sunís polar regions. However, Ulysses did not find the expected increase of cosmic rays, apparently because strong magnetic waves above the poles act to repel the high-energy ions back into space.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University