NASA finds a new radiation belt around Earth.
A radiation belt around our planet that was unknown to scientists has been discovered by NASA space probes.
Two rings of radiation known as the Van Allen radiation belts were one of the first space discoveries back in 1958.
A third layer of radiation existed for 4 weeks, and was then destroyed by an interplanetary shock wave in October of 2012.
The Van Allen probes were launched in the summer of 2012 to take measurements of the known existing radiation belts, and the instruments picked up the presence of a third belt.
Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder said: : “More than five decades after the original discovery of these radiation belts, you can still find new unexpected things there…We now need to re-evaluate them thoroughly both theoretically and observationally."
NASA’s twin Van Allen space probes have also recorded noises produced by radio waves in the magnetosphere of the planet.
The noises have been described as sounding like alien birds.
The transfer of energy from lower energy particles to higher energy particles creates the noises at frequencies that human beings can hear.
Researchers hope the detailed data being collected will improve our understanding of space weather and solar storms that can have disastrous effects on satellites and hydro grids.