Latest Magnetopause Stories

Earth’s Magnetosphere Operates Like A Filter
2012-10-24 11:46:18

ESA´s quartet of satellites studying Earth´s magnetosphere, Cluster, has discovered that our protective magnetic bubble lets the solar wind in under a wider range of conditions than previously believed. Earth´s magnetic field is our planet´s first line of defense against the bombardment of the solar wind. This stream of plasma is launched by the Sun and travels across the Solar System, carrying its own magnetic field with it. Depending on how the solar wind´s...

2012-05-23 11:25:27

MESSENGER scientists have concluded that waves driven by the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability play a key role in driving Mercury's magnetosphere. In a paper published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the team reports on frequent detections of such waves at the outer edge of the innermost planet's magnetosphere. The paper was selected as an Editor's Highlight by the journal editor, and its findings are scheduled to be featured as a Research Highlight in Eos, the weekly...

2011-01-08 12:00:13

European scientists have used observations from ESA's Cluster and Venus Express spacecraft to improve models of the interaction of Earth and Venus with the solar wind, the perpetual stream of electrically charged particles emitted by the Sun. This has implications for understanding the effects of charged particles on orbiting spacecraft. In some respects, Earth and Venus may be regarded as near-twins, since they are similar in size, mass and internal structure. However, although the central...

2010-08-16 12:35:00

Imagine floating 35,000 miles above the sunny side of Earth. Our home planet gleams below, a majestic whorl of color and texture. All seems calm around you. With no satellites or space debris to dodge, you can just relax and enjoy the black emptiness of space. But looks can be deceiving. In reality, you've unknowingly jumped into an invisible mosh pit of electromagnetic mayhem "” the place in space where a supersonic "wind" of charged particles from the Sun crashes head-on into the...

2010-07-21 08:49:23

The American Geophysical Union has selected a research paper detailing observations of Mercury's magnetosphere during the probe's third flyby as a "Research Highlight" in today's issue of Eos, the AGU's weekly online and print newspaper. "Observations of Kelvin-Helmholtz waves along the dusk-side boundary of Mercury's magnetosphere during MESSENGER's third flyby," by Scott Boardsen and coauthors, originally published in Geophysical Research Letters, is available online at...

2010-03-05 07:25:00

Scientists at the University of Rochester have discovered that the Earth's magnetic field 3.5 billion years ago was only half as strong as it is today, and that this weakness, coupled with a strong wind of energetic particles from the young Sun, likely stripped water from the early Earth's atmosphere. The findings, presented in today's issue of Science, suggest that the magnetopause"”the boundary where the Earth's magnetic field successfully deflects the Sun's incoming solar...

2010-01-20 12:35:00

The Earth's magnetic field protects our planet from most of the permanent flow of particles from the solar wind. Fissures in this magnetic shield are known to occur, enabling the solar wind to penetrate our near-space environment. A study based on data collected by the four ESA Cluster satellites and the CNSA/ESA Double Star TC-1 spacecraft, provides new insight into the location and duration of these ruptures in the Earth's magnetic shield. This study reports the observation of fissures on...

2009-08-20 10:00:00

On September 29, the MESSENGER spacecraft will pass by Mercury for the third time, flying 141.7 miles above the planet's rocky surface for a final gravity assist that will enable it to enter orbit about Mercury in 2011. This encounter will also provide new observational opportunities for MESSENGER's Magnetometer, designed to determine the structure and origin of Mercury's intrinsic magnetic field. The comparison of magnetosphere observations from MESSENGER's first flyby in January 2008 with...

2009-06-02 11:30:00

As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is scorching hot, with daytime temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 450 degrees Celsius). It is also the smallest rocky planet, so its gravity is weak, only about 38 percent of Earth's. These conditions make it hard for the planet to hold on to its atmosphere, which is extremely thin, and invisible to the human eye. However, it can be seen by special instruments attached to telescopes and spacecraft like MESSENGER (MErcury...

2008-03-07 07:50:24

Swooping through space are solitary waves, which in theory do not change form or lose energy as they go along. These waves, which exist on Earth in different media, have been detected and explained for the first time in space thanks to Cluster data. In theory, these solitary waves, called solitons, propagate endlessly maintaining their shape and form as well as velocity, which means that they do not lose energy with time. The phenomenon was first noticed in a water canal in England in 1834...

Latest Magnetopause Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Heliopause -- The heliopause is the boundary where our Sun's solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium. The solar wind blows a "bubble" in the interstellar medium (the rareified hydrogen and helium gas that permeates the galaxy). The point where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the interstellar medium is known as the heliopause, and is often considered to be the outer "border" of the solar system. The distance to the heliopause is not precisely...

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  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'