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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.

Charged Particle Motion in Earth's Magnetosphere

Associations

Green and red aurora

The next time you happen across the mysterious and beautiful dancing lights of the aurora, you might think of the magnetosphere, source of energetic particles that create the auroral light and generator of electric currents that heat the polar ionosphere.

Regions of Earth's magnetosphere

Or your mind may turn to the Sun and solar wind, whence nearly all magnetospheric particles and energy derive.

The solar wind

Or perhaps you will see in your mindís eye a giant fountain of air rising from the polar atmosphere and settling in the tropics, high above the ground.

Auroral-driven circulation in the thermosphere

You might even wonder whether this auroral storm has disrupted communications and navigation systems, or endangered astronauts in space.

Space weather impacts on human society

But wherever your mind may wander, borne by this dazzling display, may you never lose the same sense of mystery that our ancestors felt when beholding this amazing and beautiful silent fire in the polar sky.

Red aurora

Last modified September 2, 2005 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA