There's a place more than 500 kilometers above the Atlantic Ocean where space station computers suddenly crash, space telescopes can't operate and satellites shutdown. Some people call this zone the "Bermuda Triangle of Space." Because of its shape, some researchers nicknamed it "the Duck." However there's nothing really mysterious about the South Atlantic Anomaly. It's a region of space where the Earth's magnetic field is off center and lets in space radiation to especially low altitudes. Now a team of Italian researchers have re-crunched the data from a decade-old satellite to get a clearer picture of this space hazard.
The anomaly is part of the Van Allen Radiation Belts, a ring of trapped solar radiation between about 1,000 and 6,000 kilometers above the planet's surface (there's a second ring that starts about 13,000 kilometers out). However the rings are a little bit off-kilter because the middle of Earth's magnetic field doesn't align straight through the center of the Earth. That brings one sliver of the ring closer to the planet's surface, centered off the coast of Brazil.
Read the rest at Physics Central.