Image of IMAGE in space

IMAGE Detects Ions from the Invisible Bow Shock Region.


IMAGE scientists have discovered major new flows of energy from the bow shock region into the polar regions of Earth. The energy travels down through the so-called magnetic 'cusp' zones where Earth's magnetic field converges on the Arctic and Antarctic Regions. These flows seem to be responsible for increasing the brightness of a new type of aurora detected by IMAGE and produced by protons entering the atmosphere.

(2001: Shen-Wu Chang, Stephen B. Mende, Joseph F. Fennell, Harlan E. Spence, Karel Kudela)

Related IMAGE Discoveries

  • In Progress

Additional Information

Bow Shock -A disturbance set up when a body tries to travel quickly through a surrounding medium. Similar to the wake of a speed boat.

Cusp -Region in the sunward-tilted magnetic field of Earth where charged particles can enter the polar regions. Faint daytime aurora result, but are not visible to the eye.

IMAGE experiments
Useful Web Resources

Return to the IMAGE Discoveries page


Dr. S. Odenwald,, +1-301-286-6953
NSSDC, Mail Code 630, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
NASA Approval: J. L. Green,
Rev. 1.0.0, 24 April 2003, EVB II