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.
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 just that, a sheet of plasma that extends down the magnetotail dividing the two lobes of the Earth's magnetic field. This outer plasma is hotter than the plasma in the plasmasphere,...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....more
The plasmasphere is a donut-shaped region inside the Earth's magnetosphere. It is basically an extension of the ionosphere, or the topmost part of the Earth's atmosphere. The magnetic field lines of the...more
The Earth's radiation belts are just one part of the system called the magnetosphere. The radiation belts of the Earth are made up of electrons, protons and heavier atomic ions. These particles get trapped...more
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Besides the beautiful aurora at the north and south poles, the magnetosphere generates lots of noisy radio signals. These signals tell us that something is happening within the magnetosphere, such as particles...more