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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the watch-it-move dept.

EU 80

An anonymous reader writes "A report from the European Space Agency shows the first collection of high-resolution results from the agency's three-satellite Swarm. The report illustrates the latest changes in the Earth's magnetic field and shows the movement of the magnetic North Pole. "Launched in November 2013, ESA's Swarm mission consists of three 9-meter satellites orbiting the planet at altitudes of 300-530 km (186-330 miles). Their goal is to monitor Earth's dynamic magnetic field, observing its changes over a period of four years. The data gathered by the Swarm satellites will help scientists better understand how our magnetic field works, how it's influenced by solar activity, and why large parts of it are found to be weakening.""

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Global warming... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298655)

is fucking everything up. The Republicans won't be happy until everything is ruined because of their actions.

Re:Global warming... (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 6 months ago | (#47298679)

That is the way of their kind. Once the magnetic material reaches the Curie temperature, it will no longer be magnetic. Then the Earth will no longer have protection from solar radiation. All complex life will die. That is what the Republicans are working so hard to do.

Re: Global warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47303061)

Why in the hell would they do that?

Re:Global warming... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298687)

is fucking everything

Carlos? Is that you Mr. Danger?

Re:Global warming... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298789)

Their warming plan is scary. More info about this physical property the Republicans are using to try to destroy humanity:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curie_temperature

According to that page, nickel has a Curie temperature of 631K which is 676 degrees F for the people here that still use the slave-owner system of measurement. Much of the Earth's magnetic field is due to nickel, and all the Republicans have to do is heat it with their global warming plan to get it to 631K, and the nickel will lose its magnetism. As NASA recently proved, Mars had most of its atmosphere ripped away by the solar wind (http://cosmosmagazine.com/news/solar-wind-ripping-chunks-mars/). They want the same to happen to the Earth.

Re:Global warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298981)

Republicans were on Mars?

Re:Global warming... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#47299801)

Well.... if you consider that Viking 1 and Viking 2 landed during Gerald Ford's term in office....

Re:Global warming... (3, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 6 months ago | (#47298949)

is fucking everything up. The Republicans won't be happy until everything is ruined because of their actions.

So that's where Karl Rove was last weekend - he was up at the North Pole shoving the magnetic field around!

Re:Global warming... (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 6 months ago | (#47299053)

Political joke = butthurt, apparently.

Tough crowd.

Re:Global warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47306887)

Sorry, my sarcasm Meter has failed me! I read it as this moron actually thinks "global warming" is causing the magnetic pole drift. I really hope this is sarcasm; it cannot have gotten this bad; could it?

I just know... (1, Troll)

usacoder (816957) | about 6 months ago | (#47298757)

this will bring out the global warming deniers.

Re:I just know... (2)

narcc (412956) | about 6 months ago | (#47298815)

Why?

Global warming has already been mentioned here, sure, but not by deniers.

I think you have a bad case of "talk about the thing I think I know about because I don't understand the current topic".

Re:I just know... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299189)

Because they literally interject denialism of that into every conversation, that's why. OP just pre-empted that here.

Re: I just know... (1)

Teranolist (3658793) | about 6 months ago | (#47299621)

Masturbation in public?

Re:I just know... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298839)

Yep, cuz there is so much proof...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10916086/The-scandal-of-fiddled-global-warming-data.html

Re:I just know... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298955)

Don't confuse them with the facts, or lack there of for their religion of choice. Global Warming has turned in to a religion that worships the temperature of the earth, the environment and the things in it.

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

There is nothing new under the sun..

Re:I just know... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299313)

those aren't facts, and that's not a credible source.

Re:I just know... (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 6 months ago | (#47303653)

Do you actually have a rational explanation for how global warming is responsible for the shifting of the magnetic field. All kinds of evidence exists to show that the field has shifted and reversed many times in the past and I have never read a single article linking any of this with any of the previous warming trends.

Who is now talking out of their ass?

not North Pole drift (4, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#47298811)

bad headline, the drifting of the North Pole is seperate matter from drift of magnetic pole. The magnetic pole is moving north at 40 km / year (accelerating from its former value of 10 km/ year a century ago. Normal and expected too.

The north pole itself moves a few cm per year

Re:not North Pole drift (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298953)

The north pole itself moves a few cm per year

I've seen enough porn to know that the North pole gets a lot more action than that.

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299099)

Isn't any direction the North Pole moves in north?

Re:not North Pole drift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299221)

They must be talking about the actual pole stuck in the ground (by Slartibartfast or Jesus, I dunno).

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#47299331)

no, the magnetic pole is south of the north pole, and the north pole itself can only be moving in a southern direction if you think about it.

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

Another, completely (812244) | about 6 months ago | (#47299553)

the north pole itself can only be moving in a southern direction if you think about it.

No, it's just a good hockey player, like you would expect of the north pole. As the Great One said, it skates "to where the pole will be." That's the real northerly direction.

Re:not North Pole drift (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 months ago | (#47299577)

How can express the movement of the north pole in terms of north or south, given that it is the pole itself that defines those terms?

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#47299699)

there is a south pole too, so very easy to say away from the north pole is south, and if the north pole is moving on the face of the earth, the velocity vector tangent to the surface must be pointing south.

Re:not North Pole drift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47302585)

But its previous position was south of its current position, so it must have moved north, not south.

There's more than one North Pole (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about 6 months ago | (#47300099)

There is more than one North Pole. For one, there is North Pole, Alaska (which isn't even above the Arctic Circle!). More seriously, we have the magnetic north pole, where the compasses point to, and then the point where the Earth's rotational axis meets the Earth's surface. It's not quite accurate to say that the rotational axis moves relative to the Earth's surface, although the planet does wobble on its axis. However, we usually express that in terms of which point on the celestial sphere the Earth appears to rotate around, which changes every few thousand years. The point of which that rotation (known as the precession of the equinoxes) appears to rotate around is the ecliptic north pole, which can also be expressed as the point directly perpendicular to the plane of Earth's rotation around the Sun.

Out of all of them, North Pole, AK, is the worst. The others are harder to visit though.

Re:There's more than one North Pole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47301411)

Oh shit, this is why my letters to Santa always get lost

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

colordev (1764040) | about 6 months ago | (#47299715)

And even faster [amazonaws.com] than that...

The magnetic north [nationalgeographic.com] pole had moved little from the time scientists first located it in 1831. Then in 1904, the pole began shifting northeastward at a steady pace of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year.

In 1989 it sped up again, and in 2007 scientists confirmed that the pole is now galloping toward Siberia at 34 to 37 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) a year.

Re:not North Pole drift (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#47299817)

Quick! Revive Reagan! We must stop the North Pole from defecting to the Soviets!

Re:not North Pole drift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47301383)

Are you saying the magnetic north pole is different from the magnetic north pole itself?

Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47298825)

What's your opinion?

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47298881)

I was about to post something similar. I think the Earth is due. I have lingering questions about when it will happen, how long it will last, will the magnetosphere disappear completely during that time, will there be an increase in solar radiation reaching the ground, what will happen to life on the planet during that time? You know...the usual stuff.

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (4, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#47299101)

It won't completely disappear. Instead of all of the flux lines being aligned and creating one large field, there will be flux lines protruding from many different directions and have lots of smaller fields. A Discovery Channel show from many years back claimed something like an estimated 10% increase rate of cancer world wide. Doesn't sound too bad. We'll also lose a bit more upper atmosphere than normal.

On the flip side, we'll get some really cool Auroras visible to almost anywhere in the world!

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299615)

The last flip was almost 800,000 years ago. Who determined the cancer increase risk?

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300847)

Physicist have modeled the effects of the reversion on the amount of radiation that reaches sea-level.

Biologists have modeled the effects of radiation on humans.

Putting the two together gives an estimate of the increase in cancer resulting from an magnetic pole inversion.

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299661)

I don't think they've been correlated with any mass extinctions in the past. It may cause us some headaches with all our fancy metal shapes protruding everywhere, increase the rate of cancer slightly, cut slightly shorter radiation workers' (like pilots) careers, etc..

Re:Magnetic poles reversal coming soon? (1)

Kiliani (816330) | about 6 months ago | (#47298893)

Depends on your definition of "soon". I don't plan on sticking around for it. But you are right, it's overdue - and it would last about as long as China is old now. Wouldn't worry about this at the moment unless your next research grant depends on it ...

3 is a "swarm"? (1)

slinches (1540051) | about 6 months ago | (#47298859)

Since when are three objects considered a swarm? If that's acceptable it should be appended to the list [xkcd.com] .

Not swarm, or SWARM, but Swarm (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 months ago | (#47299061)

It's a proper name, not the noun or an acronym. At least, that's what I could gather. Usually a mission is named via acronym (Synchronous Wideband Analysis for Research of Magnetism, or some such), or occasionally after a famous administrator (James Webb Space Telescope, named after the 2nd NASA Administrator) or the (rarely) a famous principal scientist. This seems to be none of those, or at least I couldn't find a reference on the ESA pages. Damned Europeans. They're mocking us with their "no rules" satellite naming conventions.

Re:Not swarm, or SWARM, but Swarm (1)

Another, completely (812244) | about 6 months ago | (#47299589)

The Economist had an article [economist.com] a couple of weeks ago about a NASA-funded project.

Stone Aerospace named the penetrator VALKYRIE. This is not in reference to the Norse deity but rather because it needed “a frickin’ cool acronym”, Dr Stone says.

A refreshing dose of honesty.

Re:Not swarm, or SWARM, but Swarm (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#47300679)

Stone Aerospace named the penetrator VALKYRIE.

Re-using names [wikipedia.org] it would seem.

Re:3 is a "swarm"? (1)

gerardrj (207690) | about 6 months ago | (#47299217)

Well, that depends.
Three cars... no. Three people...no. Three airplanes... no. Three angry wasps trying to sting me... yes.

Re:3 is a "swarm"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299223)

Officially, three objects form a "committee", particularly when they all hold differing opinions.

Re:3 is a "swarm"? (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | about 6 months ago | (#47300523)

My initial thought as well. Upon further research, the Danish noun sværm (transliterated to the proper name Swarm for the three-satellite program) may be translated as swarm, flight or cloud. I can see referring to three satellites as a flight. https://translate.google.com/#... [google.com]

Re:3 is a "swarm"? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#47300653)

I thought the collective term for satellites was a constellation.

Like a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, a misery of ex-wives.

Re:3 is a "swarm"? (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | about 6 months ago | (#47304935)

a misery of ex-wives.

I think that works for the singular case too.

Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (4, Insightful)

Cliff Stoll (242915) | about 6 months ago | (#47298935)

This is important work, which compliments terrestial geomagnetic measurements and space based observations.

The earth's magnetic field results from a planetary dynamo. Magnetic field lines get frozen into the electrically conductive fluid core. Then, differential motions in the fluid causes the magnetic field to get twisted up -- it's no longer is the simple dipole (like those bar magnets that you played with as a kid). Instead, the earth's magnetic field develops high order moments (sorta like bumps and dips). These shapes evolve as the conductive core moves. Eventually, the magnetic field gets so tangled up, that it unravels. At that time, the earth's field reverses. These magnetic field reversals show up in the geologic record ... every 10,000 to 100,000 years, there's a flipover.

Measurements like the ESA Swarm satellite give us a handle on the evoloution of the Earth's magnetic field, as well as showing how that field interacts with the magnetic and particle environment of the solar wind.

(disclaimer - most of what I just posted is from a terrific graduate class that I took at the Lunar & Planetary Labs way back in 1979, and when I worked with Charles Sonett, who studied the solar wind. Likely, much of this is way out of date!)

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#47299097)

The earth's magnetic field results from a planetary dynamo.

Dumb question: Could the "dynamo" be used to create current?

It would be nice if we could use the rotation of the Earth as an energy source.

We put some satellites into a polar orbit to act as the, um, what's the word...stator?

Yeah, it's a dumb question.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 6 months ago | (#47299129)

Even if you could somehow make a satellite to extract energy, it would cause a drag on the satellite. So all you're doing is converting the satellite's momentum (that took precious rocket fuel to create) back into energy.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299347)

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 6 months ago | (#47299729)

Thanks for the helpful background.

When the tether intersects the planet's magnetic field, it generates a current, and thereby converts some of the orbiting body's kinetic energy to electrical energy.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

punman (412350) | about 6 months ago | (#47299145)

I'd be shocked if we could do this with current technology.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299265)

I'd be shocked if we could do this with current technology.

We have a volunteer!

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299327)

already been done, in the 90s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299243)

It would be nice if we could use the rotation of the Earth as an energy source.

My work day is already too long, you insensitive clod!

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

jovius (974690) | about 6 months ago | (#47299311)

Satellites may benefit from rolling out long thin wires while rotating in the Earth's magnetosphere. There's so called electric sail [wikipedia.org] project in the testing phase where they are doing just that. The ready mechanism will not work in the Earth's magnetosphere though.

Wind, tidal and coriolis forces can be more easily tapped for energy, although they are not all directly caused by the planet's rotation.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (3, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#47299551)

That's not a dumb question.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs have come about from people asking "Why can't we do _X_?"

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300617)

That's not a dumb question.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs have come about from people asking "Why can't we do _X_?"

Because Jesus died for our sins, that's why.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47301415)

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

fermion (181285) | about 6 months ago | (#47299961)

Short answer yes [nasa.gov] .

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300043)

Satellites already utilize the Earth's magnetic field: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_torquers

But they don't derive any energy from it.

I doubt the Earth's magnetic field could be used for much useful work because the field is too variable and complex, not to mention weak. But perhaps on really tiny scales, and if we learned more about it and could predict local orientations--so you could maximize your use at any particular location.

But do we really want to be sapping energy from a system that makes our planet habitable!? Long term I'd think we want to figure out ways to add energy to that system! Although admittedly step 1 would probably be learning how to draw energy from it.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#47302491)

But do we really want to be sapping energy from a system that makes our planet habitable!?

So, you mean a dynamo eventually pulls the charge out of the magnets? I didn't know that. So if we could use the Earth as a dynamo, it would drain the magnetic charge of the Earth.

But then, the list of things I don't know is nearly infinite. I'm going back to playing with my Legos.

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47302597)

You're a dumb fuck liar for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300965)

That got told right where to stick it you fucking punk midget whimp http://linux.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Re:You're a dumb fuck liar for sure (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#47301585)

Hi, APK. Hang in there bro, it gets better.

Re:You're a dumb fuck liar for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47302165)

It's never going to be better for you midget being shorter than women who're embarassed to be seen with you. That's a price you pay all your miserable troll life douchebag.

Re:You're a dumb fuck liar for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47303243)

Re:Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47303251)

Bring the paint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299085)

Now they will have to rename the airport runways again!

Caption incorrect in the FA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47299185)

The figure in the link seems to have the wrong caption, its shows not the changes in the field but the total field itself. (20000-60000 nT) During the video you can see the version with the changes +/- 3000 nT, which interestingly shows the greatest drop along the west side of the Americas, and a small rise in the Indian Ocean.

Cue Pacific Rim in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 6 months ago | (#47299209)

Rift opens in twelve.

Hope you are ready for the Event

Re:Cue Pacific Rim in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300405)

The Event? The Event stank, don't even mention that pile of mess. Geez.

Pacific Rim has so many issues it's better left on the sea floor. I get that everybody really wanted a live action special effects film with giant robots that didn't suck, and thus their standards were lowered, but what a turkey.

With the poles moving... (1)

usacoder (816957) | about 6 months ago | (#47300017)

the last one in Poland please turn the lights off.

Re:With the poles moving... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47303945)

This one just calls for a Polandball comic [reddit.com] to be made for it.

hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300415)

damn that global warming! we have to do something!

Cue the man made global warming in 3,2,1 (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 6 months ago | (#47300533)

The core of the earth is a molten core of iron. Iron is magnetic. As it moves around, the magnetic field around it will change. The magnetic north has been moving long before humans walked the earth and probably will be moving around long after we leave. As with NOAA faking the "man made" global warming data, this will just be another way to scare the morons that don't think into believing global warming is caused by man.

Worse than we thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47300593)

The magnetic poles are moving at an unprecedented rate of 40 km/yr and is the fastest recorded movement. At the rate of current increase, compasses will soon point to somewhere in Siberia in the not to near future.

Wouldn't mind swarm of 3 killer bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47301359)

Two's company, there's a swarm?

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