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What are solar winds and more importantly, how does it affect Earth and other planets in our solar system? We have a rough idea of solar winds in that, they are a stream of particles being emitted outward from the sun.
But scientists want to know more and have a deeper understanding of how it interacts with Earth. So they sent a probe on a mission toward the sun. In the meantime, the Imperial College of London is doing research on these solar winds by recreating it.
The Mega Ampere Generator for Plasma Implosion Experiments, or MAGPIE, is a two-storey machine within the labyrinthine basement of Imperial College London. Inside, a box-sized crucible resides at the heart of a collection of giant tubes.
Every now and then, for half a millionth of a second, it literally explodes into life, releasing a burst of miniaturized solar wind that scientists can study as it interacts with its magnetic target.
(Image credit: Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA)