Researchers have long known that sun-charged particles, concentrated around the earth, sometimes scatter in the upper atmospheric layer, which leads to the formation of auroras. But for decades nobody knew exactly what energetic electrons direct. Recently, two vehicles were installed in the desired locations to directly fix the impulsive loss of an electron and the cause.
NASA and FIREBIRD II CubeSat probes were used for the new study. With their help, they demonstrated that the cause can be a common plasma wave in space, created by fluctuating electric and magnetic fields. Waves have increasing tones that sound like bird chirping, and are able to accelerate electrons. For such observations have to use two satellites at once. FIREBIRD II data were obtained from a height of 310 miles above the Earth, and two Van Allen probes were placed in a wide orbit.
The space around the Earth is a real jungle filled with invisible fields and tiny particles. The magnetic terrestrial environment traps electrons and ions in concentrating belts, called Van Allen radiation belts.
Sometimes particles fall into the atmosphere. Most often, a small “rain” of electrons can be observed, but micro-breaks (pulsed particles) occur periodically. The latter were captured in 2016 with the Van Allen probe. This information is used to improve space weather forecasts.