Swarm Scientific Highlights
27 November 2019
Strange ribbons of purple light that appeared in the sky – known as Steve – became the subject of debate in 2017, as their origins were unbeknown to scientists. Now, photographs of this remarkable phenomena have been studied to understand their exact position in the night sky.
15 May 2019
As far as we know, Earth's magnetic north has always wandered, but it has recently gained new momentum and is making a dash towards Siberia at a pace not seen before. While this has some practical implications, scientists believe that this sprint is being caused by tussling magnetic blobs deep below our feet.
The constant improvement in the strategies to operate the two Thermal Ion Imagers (TII) sensors on-board each Swarm spacecraft, defined by scientists and engineers in dedicated monthly TII anomaly review board meetings, allow a significant increase in TII data coverage, and a substantial improvement in TII data quality.
01 May 2019
Our protective magnetic field is always restless, but every now and then something weird happens – it jerks. Although scientists have known about these rapid shifts for some 40 years, the reason why they occur has remained a frustrating mystery, until now.
08 February 2019
Since it was first measured in 1831, we have known that the magnetic north is constantly on the move. However, its tendency to slowly roam has stepped up a pace recently – so much so that the World Magnetic Model has had to be updated urgently with the pole's new location, vital for navigation on smartphones, for example. ESA's magnetic field Swarm mission has been key for this update.
29 June 2018
A team of researchers, supported under ESA's Basic Activities, has recently investigated a resourceful new method of monitoring space weather. They utilised the data from the Swarm and GOCE Earth Explorer missions, and from LISA Pathfinder to investigate whether platform magnetometer data could also be used for space weather diagnostics.
13 April 2018
The batch of new results from ESA's Swarm mission has not only included the highest-resolution map of the magnetic field generated by Earth's crust and a map of the tiny magnetic signals from the oceans, but also, remarkably, some unexpected insight into lightning in the upper atmosphere and geomagnetic storms.
10 April 2018
The magnetic field is arguably one of the most mysterious features of our planet. ESA's Swarm mission is continually yielding more insight into how our protective shield is generated, how it behaves and how it is changing. Adding yet another string to its bow, Swarm is now tracking changes in the magnetic field produced in the oceans in more detail than ever before.
16 March 2018
Steve – a strange shimmering ribbon of purple light in the night sky – was discovered in 2016, but now, thanks to ESA's Swarm mission, more is known about this weird feature of the aurora.
22 February 2018
With the aim of making the best possible use of existing satellites, ESA and Canada have made a deal that turns Swarm into a four-satellite mission to shed even more light on space weather and features such as the aurora borealis.
15 February 2018
The Sun bathes our planet in the light and heat it needs to sustain life, but it also bombards us with dangerous charged particles in solar wind. Our magnetic field largely shields from this onslaught, but like many a relationship, it's somewhat complicated. Thanks to ESA's Swarm mission the nature of this Earth–Sun coupling has been revealed in more detail than ever before.
21 April 2017
Thanks to social media and the power of citizen scientists chasing the northern lights, a new feature was discovered recently. Nobody knew what this strange ribbon of purple light was, so... it was called Steve.
23 March 2017
Information from ESA's magnetic field Swarm mission has led to the discovery of supersonic plasma jets high up in our atmosphere that can push temperatures up to almost 10,000°C.
22 March 2017
Strong electric currents in the upper atmosphere are known to vary according to the season, but ESA's Swarm mission has discovered that this seasonal variation is not the same in the north and south polar regions.
21 March 2017
ESA's Swarm satellites are seeing fine details in one of the most difficult layers of Earth's magnetic field to unpick - as well as our planet's magnetic history imprinted on Earth's crust.
07 February 2017
Are you working on auroral science? You can use Swarm magnetic field mission data along with in-situ and ground-based data through a new easy-to-use web interface; Swarm-Aurora.
19 December 2016
We would normally associate jet streams with the weather but, thanks to ESA's magnetic field mission, scientists have discovered a jet stream deep below Earth's surface - and it's speeding up.
28 October 2016
Satellite engineers have been puzzling over why GPS navigation systems on low-orbiting satellites like ESA's Swarm sometimes black out when they fly over the equator between Africa and South America. Thanks to Swarm, it appears 'thunderstorms' in the ionosphere are to blame.
04 October 2016
Oceans might not be thought of as magnetic, but they make a tiny contribution to our planet's protective magnetic shield. Remarkably, ESA's Swarm satellites have not only measured this extremely faint field, but have also led to new discoveries about the electrical nature of inner Earth.
10 May 2016
With more than two years of measurements by ESA's Swarm satellite trio, changes in the strength of Earth's magnetic field are being mapped in detail.
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