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First View of Plasma Sheet
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First View of Plasma Sheet

January 10, 2013
This image is the first-ever composite image of the plasma sheet in the Earth's magnetotail. Earth is shown by the black/white circle in the middle. The curved lines represent model magnetic field lines in the Earth's magnetosphere. The Sun is toward the left. The red and yellow colors show the regions of the magnetosphere emitting the most energetic neutral atoms (ENAs), and the green, blue, and purple colors show the regions emitting fewer ENAs. Ths image represents the ENAs collected by IBEX in Orbit 52, from November 5 through 7, 2009. The line next to FOV in the lower right corner shows the width of IBEX's field of view at any one time. To build up this image, IBEX had to scan the magnetosphere for about two days. It is important to note that this ENA image is not a snapshot but, instead, it is an average of the ENAs detected over the Credit: NASA/IBEX Science Team