Magnetic tornadoes gouge Mercury's surface


Could this explain what created the Carolina Bays?

2 Jun 09 – “Mercury’s atmosphere is extremely thin and invisible to the human eye, says this article by Bill Steigerwald at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “However, it can be seen by special instruments attached to telescopes and spacecraft like MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging).”

“Mercury’s atmosphere is so thin, it would have vanished long ago unless something was replenishing it,” says Dr. James A. Slavin, a co-investigator on NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury. That something could be the solar wind, a thin gas of electrically charged particles, called plasma, blowing constantly from the surface of the sun.

The solar wind moves quickly, usually around 250 to 370 miles per second (about 400 to 600 km/second); fast enough to blast atoms off the surface of Mercury. Through a process called “sputtering,” solar wind particles that crash into Mercury’s surface transfer sufficient energy to launch some atoms into ballistic trajectories high above the surface and replenish Mercury’s atmosphere, according to Slavin.

In other words, “sputtering” gouges those atoms out of Mercury’s surface.

“However, there’s a problem – Mercury’s magnetic field gets in the way. The ions and electrons that make up the solar wind are electrically charged, so a global magnetic field usually deflects the solar wind.

“During its second flyby of the planet on 6 Oct 08, MESSENGER discovered that Mercury’s magnetic field can be extremely leaky. The spacecraft encountered magnetic “tornadoes” – twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting the planetary magnetic field to inter-planetary space – up to 500 miles wide or a third of the radius of the planet.

“These ‘tornadoes’ form when magnetic fields carried by the solar wind connect to Mercury’s magnetic field,” said Slavin. “As the solar wind blows past Mercury’s field, these joined magnetic fields are carried with it and twist up into vortex-like structures. These twisted magnetic flux tubes form open windows in the planet’s magnetic shield through which the solar wind may enter and directly impact Mercury’s surface.”

“The process of linking interplanetary and planetary magnetic fields, called magnetic reconnection, is common throughout the cosmos. It occurs in Earth’s magnetic field, where it generates magnetic tornadoes as well. However, the MESSENGER observations show the reconnection rate is ten times higher at Mercury.

Is it really magnetic reconnection? Or are we talking about the kind of explosions that created the Carolina Bays (as I propose in “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps”)?

According to electrical engineer Donald E. Scott, there can be no such thing as a magnetic reconnection. Rather, it has to do with massive electric discharges. (See No magnetic reconnection)

Whatever the cause, scientists have recently found that magnetic reconnection causes “ferocious explosions” above the earth. (See my article about explosions in the sky.) It makes sense to think that those explosions would occur ever closer to the earth during a magnetic reversal, when we lose our magnetic shielding.

See entire article:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/multimedia/
magnetic_tornadoes.html
Thanks to Ty Weston for this link

See also Could magnetic twisters have created the Carolina Bays?


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