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NASA spacecraft find "particle accelerator" in Van Allen belts
Posted: Sat, Jul 27, 2013, 10:00 AM ET (1400 GMT)
Van Allen Probes illustration (NASA) Twin NASA spacecraft launched last year have helped scientists determine that charged particles in the Van Allen belts circling the Earth are accelerated from within the belts. In a paper published in the latest issue of Science, scientists reported on their ability to track charged particles in the belts using the two Van Allen Probes spacecraft in an effort to identify the source of the particles' acceleration. During one event in October, the probes showed the source of the accelerated particles was in the middle of the belt, extending inward and outward, and not from the outside in. That would be explained by a local source of energy within the belts accelerating the particles, according to scientists.
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