radiation belt

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A toroidal region within a planet's magnetosphere where charged particles become trapped for long periods, spiralling backwards and forwards between ‘mirror points’ at opposite ends of magnetic field lines. The Van Allen Belts surrounding the Earth are examples. Extensive radiation belts also surround Jupiter. Energetic particles in planetary radiation belts can present a hazard to spacecraft, causing damage to electronic components.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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