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The Question

(Submitted February 10, 1997)

I would like to know if there is any evidence for counter clock wise rotation of the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). Tried a few other sources, some asked what's the SAA? Never heard of it. Assumed if anyone would know it would be your outfit.

The Answer

This question is a good one for the Imagine the Universe! Ask an Astrophysicist service. Part of our job is to create observation schedules for the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. To do this, we have to model the location of the SAA. So I must say that you've come to the right place !

The South Atlantic Anomaly does not rotate. It changes its size (both in height above the earth and extent in latitude and longitude) due to a number of factors, with the primary one being solar activity. But there is no rotation to it.

Jim Lochner
for the Ask an Astrophysicist team

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