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Low Power Magnetometer (LPM) Network

Low Power Magnetometer (LPM) Network

Start date
13 December, 2001

The Electro Magnetic Quiet Area (EMQA) at Halley is a region of the station that is packed with very sensitive instrumentation that detects very slight disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field and variations in one of the upper most layers of our atmosphere – the ionosphere.

Search Coil Magnetometer: This instrument is designed to measure ultra-low frequency waves.  These waves are generated in space by natural processes during geomagnetic storms and other active periods driven by solar disturbances.  Some of the waves are guided along the geomagnetic field and are able to penetrate the atmosphere and reach the ground.  We want to find out more about these waves since we think they cause a depletion in the Earth’s radiation belts – i.e., we think they remove high-energy charged particles that circulate around the Earth and which cause damage to satellites. The Halley and Rothera search coil magnetometers are part of an international network of magnetometers called MICA-S (Magnetic Induction Coil Array – South).  By making measurements over a network of instruments at different locations we can get a better information on where the waves originate, where they propagate to, and thus gain a better understanding on the region in space where they deplete the Earth’s radiation belts.

Fluxgate Magnetometer: This instrument measures perturbations in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by electrical currents in the ionosphere and beyond. Periods of particularly large and variable magnetic perturbations are known as magnetic storms during which electrical power distribution networks across the globe, such as the National Grid, can be disrupted or damaged.