Above the ionosphere lies the magnetosphere, a region extending thousands of kilometres, containing only separated (negative) electrons and (positive) protons (i.e. hydrogen atoms stripped of electrons). These ions are aligned by the magnetic field of the Earth (which orients any magnetic compass similarly), forming two zones of higher concentration called the van Allen belts. The inner belt is found only at low latitudes, at a height of about 3,000 km. The outer belt lies at about 10,000 km above the equator, but much lower at high latitudes because of attraction by the Earth's magnetic poles.
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