This is an image of the Earth's magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size
Original artwork by the Windows to the Universe team.
A magnetosphere has many parts, such as the bow shock, magnetosheath, magnetotail, plasmasheet, lobes,
plasmasphere, radiation belts and many electric currents. It is composed of charged particles and magnetic flux.
These particles are responsible for many wonderful natural phenomena such as the aurora and natural radio emissions such as lion roars and whistler waves. Other phenomena include the donut shaped torus which circulates with moons which are inside the magnetosphere. The moons have wakes and wings associated with them while inside the magnetosphere.
The particles move and circulate about the magnetosphere and even generate storms. The magnetosphere changes constantly, even flipping its orientation every few thousand
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The plasma sheet is simply that, a sheet of plasma that extends down the magnetotail dividing the two lobes of the Earth's magnetic field. The particle density here is about 0.5 cm-3 for both electrons...more
The lobes of the magnetosphere are a vast region of the magnetotail between the magnetopause and the central plasma sheet. The lobes have opposite magnetic direction. In fact, if the plasma sheet didn't...more
The plasmasphere is a torus-shaped region within the Earth's magnetosphere. The Earth's plasmasphere is made of just that - plasma. It has a very sharp edge called the plasmapause at equatorial distances...more
The Earth's radiation belts are one component of the larger and more complex system called the magnetosphere. The radiation belts of the Earth are made up of energetic, electrically charged particles or...more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. This property implies that the force of magnetism has a direction. As shown in the diagram to the left, the...more
Besides the beautiful aurora at the north and south poles, the magnetosphere generates lots of noisy radio signals. These signals are the signature of some mechanism which is transporting particles, causing...more