Letter | Published:

Interaction of West Ford Needles with the Earth's Magnetosphere and their Life-time

Nature volume 192, page 1061 (16 December 1961) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE life-time of the copper needles which were to be placed in orbit for the West Ford experiment is a matter of great concern. It is generally believed that the pressure of solar radiation (not drag) will bring the needles down in about seven years provided they are launched into a ‘resonant’ orbit (for example, a polar orbit at altitude 3,800 km.); for a good description of the resonance effect, see I. I. Shapiro and H. M. Jones1. These authors also show that if the semi-major axis of the orbit is changed by more than 150 km., the resonance would be destroyed and the life-time greatly increased.

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References

  1. 1.

    , and , Science, 134, 973 (1961).

  2. 2.

    , Nature, 192, 303 (1961).

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Author information

Author notes

    • S. F. SINGER

    Present address: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

Affiliations

  1. Physics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

    • S. F. SINGER

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/1921061a0

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