Van Allen belt


Van Al·​len belt van-ˈa-lən- How to pronounce Van Allen belt (audio)
: a belt of intense radiation in the magnetosphere composed of energetic charged particles trapped by the earth's magnetic field
also : a similar belt surrounding another planet

Examples of Van Allen belt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After launching at 7:05 a.m., the unmanned Orion spacecraft raced 3,630 miles above the Earth’s surface and into the Van Allen belt — a radiation cloud shrouding the planet. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 4 Dec. 2014 Although Orion took radiation measurements in the Van Allen belt, the mission’s biggest success is that everything worked to near perfection. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 4 Dec. 2014

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Word History


after James A. van allen, credited with discovery of the belt

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Van Allen belt was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near Van Allen belt

Cite this Entry

“Van Allen belt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Van Allen belt

Van Al·​len belt va-ˌnal-ən- How to pronounce Van Allen belt (audio)
: a belt of high-energy charged particles that surrounds the earth in the magnetosphere

named for James A. Van Allen born 1914 American physicist

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