Magnetic Fields in Space

What are the Van Allen Belts?

Charged electrons and protons from solar wind and cosmic rays entering Earth’s magnetic field feel the Lorentz force that traps them into spiral orbits about the magnetic field lines. They create doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles called the Van Allen Belts. The belts are concentrated around the equator and become thinner as they approach the poles. The two belts are located at 3,200 kilometers and 16,000 kilometers above the surface of Earth.


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