The geomagnetic field is a fundamental property of our planet – it protects us from the solar wind, helps us navigate, and observations of local and global geomagnetic field variation on timescales from hours to years reveals information on a multitude of Earth and near-Earth phenomena such as ocean circulation pattern, tides, plasma bubbles in the Earth ionosphere and jet-streams in the core of our planet. Magnetic field fluctuations associated with natural phenomena such as earthquakes and hurricanes can also be observed, and close monitoring of the geomagnetic field variations by satellite systems will further enhance our knowledge and understanding of the coupling of our complex Earth and near-Earth system.
Swarm's precise sense of magnetism
07 May 2014
Although they were launched only five months ago, ESA's trio of Swarm satellites are already delivering results with a precision that took earlier missions 10 years to achieve.
Engineers have spent the last five months commissioning the identical satellites and carefully guiding them into their orbits to provide the crucial measurements that will unravel the mysteries of Earth's magnetic field.
Swarm has a challenging task ahead.
Together, the satellites will measure and untangle the different magnetic readings that stem from Earth's core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
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