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Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.



Context: An instrument on Chandrayaan-2, CLASS, designed to detect signatures of elements in the Moon’s soil, had detected charged particles during the mission. This happened in September, during the orbiter’s passage through the “geotail”.


What is Geotail?

A region in space that allows the best observations. The region exists as a result of the interactions between the Sun and Earth


How is it formed?

  1. The Sun emits the solar wind, which is a continuous stream of charged particles.
  2. These particles are embedded in the extended magnetic field of the Sun. Since the Earth has a magnetic field, it obstructs the solar wind plasma.
  3. This interaction results in the formation of a magnetic envelope around Earth.
  4. On the Earth side facing the Sun, the envelope is compressed into a region that is approximately three to four times the Earth radius.
  5. On the opposite side, the envelope is stretched into a long tail, which extends beyond the orbit of the Moon.
  6. It is this tail that is called the geotail.
  7. Once every 29 days, the Moon traverses the geotail for about six days.


Sources: Indian Express.