Explorer 1 and Earth's radiation belts

Explorer 1 and Earth's radiation belts

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Credit: NASA/DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: US Explorer 1 satellite and Earth's radiation belts, artwork. Explorer 1 was the first US satellite. It was launched on 31st January 1958. With its on-board Geiger counter, Explorer 1 discovered very strong areas of cosmic radiation around Earth. These were named Van Allen belts after the astrophysicist James Van Allen (1914-2006), who proposed the use of the Geiger counter. The inner belt (blue) represents a ring of highly energetic protons, originating from cosmic rays and solar wind, that are trapped in Earth's magnetic field. The outer belt (pink) represents a ring of protons and helium ions from solar wind that have much lower energy.

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Keywords: 1958, 1st, allen belt, american, artificial satellite, artwork, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, cosmic, earth, explorer 1, first, fist, geiger counter, illustration, james van allen, nasa, orbiting, planet, radiation, radiation belt, satellite, space, space flight, spacecraft, spaceflight, usa, van allen belt, van allen radiation belt

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