Image of IMAGE in space

Dazzling New Views of Earth's Magnetosphere Obtained with the IMAGE Satellite


IMAGE spacecraft data have given scientists a ring-side seat to some of the most difficult to study phenomena in the geospace environment. The new data show the geographic relationships between aurora produced by currents of electrons and protons. The data show that magnetospheric disturbances cause powerful ring currents to flow. Ultraviolet imaging of the plasmasphere have revealed complex structures and has confirmed the 30-year-old theory of the formation of a plasma tail extending from the duskside plasmasphere toward the magnetopause.

(2001: J. L. Burch, S. B. Mende, D. G. Mitchell, T. E. Moore, C. J. Pollock, B. W. Reinisch, B. R. Sandel, S. A. Fuselier, D. L. Gallagher, J. L. Green, J. D. Perez, P. H. Reiff )

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Additional Information

Plasmasphere - An extension of the ionosphere into space containing charged particles trapped in Earth's magnetic field. The particles have energies of a few hundred Volts, and extend 10,000 kilometers into space.

Magnetosphere - The region surrounding Earth where the motions of charged particles are largely controlled by Earth's magnetic field. It has a comet-like shape centered on Earth, with a tail extending several million miles opposite from the Sun. Its exact shape is controlled by the balance in pressure between the solar wind and Earth's magnetic field strength in space.

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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