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Van Allen radiation belt

The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles (i.e. a plasma) around Earth, trapped by Earth's magnetic field.

When the belts "overload", particles strike the upper atmosphere and fluoresce, causing the polar aurora.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Van Allen radiation belt", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 4, 2015

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