• U R Rao

      Articles written in Pramana – Journal of Physics

    • Study of cosmic ray diurnal variation on a day-to-day basis

      A G Ananth S P Agrawal U R Rao

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      From a careful examination of the diurnal variation of cosmic ray intensity at high energies and the interplanetary field characteristics, the average characteristics of diurnal variation were recently explained by us in terms of a balance between outward convection and field aligned diffusion, the latter arising out of a positive radial density gradient. In this paper, we extend this new concept to explain the large variability observed in the diurnal variation on a day-to-day basis and further demonstrate that the measurement of diurnal anisotropy characteristic of cosmic ray particles on a day-to-day basis can be used directly to infer the nature and scale sizes of interplanetary field parameters. Comparing with the magnetic field vector, we show that this simple concept holds good on more than 80% of days. On the rest 20% of days which have a predominant morning maxima, the diurnal anisotropy characteristics seem to indicate the presence of a significant component of transverse diffusion current in addition to the normal convection and diffusion flow. Such days are found to be present in the form of trains of consecutive days and are found to be associated with abrupt changes in the interplanetary field direction having scale sizes >4 hr. The value ofK/K which is normally about ⩽0.05 is found to be ≈1.0 on non-field aligned days.

    • Crucial role of the magnetic field in the evolution of life

      U R Rao

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      The formation of a steady ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere is the most significant event in the evolutionary cycle of the earth which, in turn, has been responsible for the development of life with an oxygen metabolism. In addition to protecting biological life from exposure to ultraviolet radiation the ozone layer has also been responsible for maintaining the water and oxygen balance in the atmosphere. It is argued that the magnetic field of the earth is really responsible for the formation of this steady ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere. Because of the earth’s magnetic field and associated trapped charge particle belts and the magnetosphere, the earth’s atmosphere does not directly interact with the interplanetary space. Without such a shielding, the free oxygen atoms could have been depleted considerably causing a severe depletion in the ozone concentration to start with. The impact of charged particles from galactic and solar cosmic rays over the entire earth’s atmosphere and the consequent production of NOx would have given rise to a major ozone sink, if earth were devoid of a magnetic field. The net result would have been the absence of a steady ozone layer and the absence of life with an oxygen metabolism, as in the case of the atmospheres of Venus and Mars, if the earth did not have a magnetic field.

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