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Physics in the News
Title: Ground-based Lasers Map Earth's Magnetic Field
URL: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/02/14/lasers-vie-with-satellites-t
o-map-earth%E2%80%99s-magnetic
Date: 02/14/2011
Publication: UC Berkeley News Center
Editor: Robert Sanders
Extended Text:

Mapping the Earth’s magnetic field – to find oil, track storms or probe the planet’s interior – typically requires expensive satellites.

University of California, Berkeley, physicists have now come up with a much cheaper way to measure the Earth’s magnetic field using only a ground-based laser.

The method involves exciting sodium atoms in a layer 90 kilometers (60 miles) above the surface and measuring the light they give off.