ESA / J.HUART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / J.HUART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Cluster II satellites. Artwork of the identical four Cluster II satellites orbiting Earth. They are designed to study the interaction between the solar wind and Earth's magnetic field. They were launched in July-August 2000 into an elliptical polar orbit that ranges from 19, 000-119, 000 kilometres from Earth (lower right). They orbit in a tetrahedral formation, allowing their data to be co-ordinated in three dimensions. The solar wind is a constant stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun (upper left). Cluster II is a European Space Agency (ESA) project.
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