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This is an image of the Earth's magnetosphere.
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Original artwork by the Windows to the Universe team.

Magnetosphere

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.

The particles move and circulate about the magnetosphere and even generate storms. The magnetosphere changes constantly, even flipping its orientation every few thousand years.

Last modified December 3, 2008 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF