Science: Doughnut Around the Earth

The first detailed description of the belt of lethal radiation that swathes the earth was given last week by Dr. James A. Van Allen of the State University of Iowa. Often called the "Van Allen radiation," the belt was discovered by the instruments that the Army's satellites carried into space.

The belt, Scientist Van Allen told the American Physical Society at Chicago, seems to be a great doughnut made chiefly of fast-moving electrons and protons circulating around the earth on both sides of its magnetic equator (see diagram). Only the lower parts have been observed with any accuracy. The upper limits are...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!