This image shows the magnetic field lines of a planet passing by a moon and creating wings.
Click on image for full size
A moon which is inside a magnetosphere usually travels slower than the magnetic field. This means that the magnetic field lines will pass over the satellite like water going around a rock. Because the moon is made of conducting material, the magnetic field will be delayed in passing around the moon. Thus the field lines will be distorted in passing over the satellite. Eventually they straighten up. The region upstream of the satellite, in the magnetic field of the planet, is called a satellite wake.
This satellite wake is different from the satellite geometric wake. The satellite wake extends in front of the satellite, in the direction in which it is moving, while the geometric wake extends in the opposite direction from the line between the satellite and the planet, and is similar to the shadow of the satellite.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is an easy way to measure large distances in space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For really big distances, we...more
The solar wind is formed as the Sun's top layer blows off into space. It carries magnetic fields still attached to the Sun. Streams appear to flow into space as if they are spiraling out from the Sun,...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
If someone says they saw an aurora, you might picture something like this. There is another type of aurora that we can't see. These aurora are called SAR arcs. The SAR stands for Stable Auroral Red. That...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
This picture shows a series of images of the auroral oval as it expands over the an hour's time because of a storm on the Sun. This is an animation of the auroral oval expanding....more