Environment

Magnetic Mystery

Scientists are struggling to understand a new weakening of Earth’s magnetic field in a region that stretches from South America to Africa and is causing technical problems in some of the satellites orbiting the planet.

The anomaly is allowing the inner Van Allen radiation belt to dip to an altitude of about 120 miles, sometimes exposing satellites to several minutes of higher-than-normal radiation. Astronauts have reported disturbances in their eyesight, known as cosmic ray visual phenomena, when passing through it.

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Massive Ozone Hole

The ozone hole in the stratosphere above Antarctica reached its annual peak on Oct. 1, which scientists say was the largest and deepest in 15 years. This was in contrast to an unusually small and short-lived ozone hole in 2019, caused by unusual weather conditions.

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