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“Bermuda Triangle of Space” causes ISS computers to crash



(Planet-Today) A weak spot in Earth’s magnetic field called the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) has been causing computers aboard the International Space Station to crash.

Sometimes called the “Bermuda Triangle of Space,” this weak spot is a vast expanse of reduced intensity in Earth’s magnetic field, hovering over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean.

(Article by Virgilio Marin republished from

While humans on the ground are safe from the effects of the SAA, ISS computers and satellites in orbit around Earth are not so lucky. When they pass through the anomaly, they get bombarded with high levels of radiation that mess up with their components.

The effects of the South Atlantic Anomaly

Earth’s magnetic field plays an important role in sustaining life on Earth. With an altitude of between 620 and 37,000 miles above the planet’s surface, it protects humans from harmful radiation and prevents the atmosphere from leaking into space, among many other things.

But a portion of the magnetic field, the SAA, is weaker than the rest. This weak spot is caused by two features of Earth’s core: The tilt of its magnetic axis and the flow of molten metals within its outer core. These churning metals act as a massive generator that creates electric currents that produce the magnetic field. But as the core motion changes over time, the magnetic field fluctuates too. This, coupled with the tilt of the magnetic axis, generates the SAA.

The anomaly permits charged particles to dip closer into Earth, potentially disrupting objects high up in the sky.

“[The] lower geomagnetic field intensity eventually results in a greater vulnerability of satellites to energetic particles, to the point that spacecraft damage could occur as they traverse the area,” John Tarduno, professor of geophysics at the University of Rochester, explained.

“Think about an electrical discharge or arc. With more incoming radiation, a satellite can become charged, and attendant arcs can result in serious damage,” he continued.

Low-orbit satellites are particularly vulnerable because the SAA has a lower altitude – at around 310 miles above Earth’s surface. In the early days of the ISS, which recently was orbiting around 220 miles aboveground, computers would typically crash and space agencies would be forced to shut down their onboard systems to prevent total damage.

“Putting equipment into a ‘safe mode’ means operations that are more vulnerable to radiation are curtailed,” said Tarduno.

The SAA affects not only machines but also astronauts. Some reported seeing odd white lights flashing before their eyes when they were entering the anomaly.

To protect astronauts, the most frequently occupied parts of the ISS, such as the gallery and the sleeping quarters, are covered with strong shielding to reduce radiation levels entering the space station. Astronauts also wear dosimeters, devices that measure their personal exposure to ionizing radiation in real-time and send out a warning if they reach dangerous levels.

Space machines affected by the SAA

Even now, space machines still occasionally suffer the effects of the SAA. The anomaly sometimes causes “blips” (loss of data) and resets the power boards of some ISS instruments about once a month.

The Hubble Space Telescope, which orbits Earth at an altitude of around 350 miles, is unable to collect astronomical data in each of the 10 times it passes through the SAA every day. If it continues operating during these periods, it will likely break down completely.

Damage to space machines can prove costly, as shown by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency‘s satellite Hitomi. Just over a month after its launch in February 2016, operators lost contact with Hitomi and the latter eventually broke apart into several pieces. The satellite cost JAXA about $273 million and three years of extensive studies.

Experts later learned that the problem was due to erroneous information sent by the spacecraft.

The SAA could pose more problems in the future as recent studies show that it is getting weaker. It lost nearly 10 percent of its strength in the last two centuries. Experts also posit that the SAA may be splitting or perhaps another weak spot is emerging independently and merging with it.

Learn more about the perils of a “field-free” Earth at

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Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say




Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.

space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.

During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.

Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.

despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.

To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
football field.

It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.

Professor Loeb
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.

while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.

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Betelgeuse is acting strange again




Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.

However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.

Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of

Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.

Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.

Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.

A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.

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