A mysterious region of space shuts down spacecraft and causes astronauts to see "shooting stars"

Anita Durairaj

Astronaut outside the International Space StationPhoto byNASA; Public Domain Image

There is a mysterious region in space that is similar to the Bermuda Triangle on Earth.

The mysterious region is called the South Atlantic Anomaly and it is the cause of the weird behavior of the Earth's magnetic field.

The South Atlantic Anomaly is the area where the Earth's inner Van Allen Radiation Belt comes closest to the Earth's surface. The Van Allen Radiation Belt is a zone of energetic charged particles that are held around a planet by its magnetosphere.

Scientists don't understand why this particular area is so problematic but they believe it has to do with the high levels of radiation that accumulate in this region.

Satellites and spacecraft that orbit the Earth and pass through the anomaly may be exposed to ionizing radiation. It is responsible for numerous problems with satellites and spacecraft.

The Hubble Space Telescope does not take observations when passing through the South Atlantic Anomaly.

Laptops have crashed when space shuttles pass through the anomaly.

In some instances, satellites have shut down. When the International Space Station passes through this region, it requires extra shielding from the radiation. The anomaly has caused false alarms to be triggered and even astronauts avoid their spacewalks here.

Astronauts who have entered the South Atlantic Anomaly report that they experience "shooting stars" or phosphenes.

Phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light even when light does not enter the visual field of the astronaut.

The South Atlantic Anomaly is of interest to NASA scientists who are continuing to monitor it and want to study the effects of the radiation and the changes in the magnetic field strength.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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