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  • 21 April, 2023

  • 3 Min Read

Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves

Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves

  • In the Indian Antarctic outpost Maitri, scientists have discovered Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron (EMIC) waves, a type of plasma waves.
  • These waves are crucial in the precipitation of killer electrons, which are dangerous for space-based equipment and instruments and constitute the radiation belt of planet Earth and have speeds close to the speed of light.
  • The investigation can aid in understanding how energetic particles in the radiation belts affect low-orbit spacecraft.

Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves: What Are They?

  • The subtle electromagnetic emissions detected in the Earth's magnetosphere are known as EMIC waves.
  • These waves are created at equatorial latitudes and travel along magnetic field lines to leave their mark in the ionosphere at high latitudes.
  • Both magnetometers based on the ground and in space can detect their traces.
  • The Earth is enclosed in a cavity called the magnetosphere, which shields it from the Sun's wrath.
  • It is created when the solar wind, a steady stream of charged particles, primarily electrons and protons, travelling from the Sun, interacts with the magnetic field of Earth.
  • The movement of the molten iron in the Earth's outer core produces the magnetic field.


  • A magnetometer is a tool used in science to assess the direction and strength of magnetic fields.
  • It can be used to examine the magnetic fields of various astronomical objects, including planets, moons, stars, and galaxies, as well as the magnetic field of the Earth.
  • The concepts of electromagnetic induction or magnetoresistance are the basis for how magnetometers operate.

How do Plasma Waves work?

  • About: Plasma waves are a specific kind of electromagnetic wave that travel through a state of matter called plasma.
  • When a gas is heated to high temperatures or exposed to powerful electric fields, the atoms in the gas become ionised, which means they lose or gain electrons and transform into charged particles.
  • Plasma makes up more than 99% of the observable universe's matter.
  • Plasma makes up our Sun, solar wind, near-Earth space, magnetosphere, and the top part of our atmosphere, as well as the interplanetary medium.
  • Applications: Astrophysics, space science, plasma physics, and communication technology are just a few of the domains where plasma waves are useful.

Read Also: Space Related Facts and Data

Source: PIB

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