This image shows how electrons will circle around a magnetic field line one way and a proton will circle in the opposite direction.
Movie adapted from original clips provided courtesy of Professor Patricia Reiff, Rice University, Connections Program.
Basic Facts About Spiral Motion
Protons and electrons can't move across magnetic field lines very easily. So sometimes these particles are are forced to spiral around them. Electrons cirle the field line in one direction, protons in the opposite direction.
You might also be interested in:
Magnetic fields can cause particles to move in these three ways: Spiral Motion Bounce Motion Drift Motion ...more
AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is a useful way to measure the distances in interplanetary space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For reference,...more
The solar wind is formed as the Sun's top layer blows off into space, carrying magnetic fields still attached to the Sun. Gusts form in the solar wind associated with violent events on the Sun. Particles...more
For a planet to be affected by a blob of material being ejected by the sun, the planet must be in the path of the blob, as shown in this picture. The Earth and its magnetosphere are shown in the bottom...more
The aurora we are most familiar with is the polar aurora. This is what people are talking about when they say the northern or southern lights. But there are other less-known aurora, such as SAR arcs....more
This figure shows the effect of the aurora on the atmosphere. When FAC's enter the atmosphere and create the aurora, they heat the atmosphere suddenly and abruptly. This creates an impulse which travels...more
This picture shows the flowing of particles into and out of the auroral zone, as Field-Aligned currents (FAC's) take at short-cut through the atmosphere. Some of the particles entering the auroral zone...more