Image of IMAGE in space

IMAGE Reveals a Complex Flow of Plasma Into Inner Magnetosphere.


During a period of modest solar wind activity, satellites located in geosynchronous orbit recorded a series of plasma flows. Each flow involved a large portion of the night side magnetosphere. The sudden flow increases, called 'injections' were accompanied by the brightening of the auroral oval. The injections could also be seen in data from the Polar and IMAGE neutral atom detectors which means that these events were true injections of fresh plasma sheet material into the inner magnetosphere.

(2001: Reeves, G. D., M. G. Henderson, R. M. Skoug, M. F. Thomsen, J.-M. Jahn, C. J. Pollock, P. C. Brandt, D. G. Mitchell, and S. B. Mende)

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Additional Information

Auroral Oval -From space the northern and southern lights can be seen as an oval of light that is centered on the magnetic north and south poles. This geometry arises from the shape of Earth's magnetic field and the changes that occur during solar storms as they disturb Earth's field.

Plasma sheet -The magnetosphere is in the shape of a comet with a long tail directed away from Earth and opposite the Sun. This tail consists of two cylindrical 'lobes' on either side of the magnetic equator. Between these lobes in the equatorial plane is a flow of charged particles called the plasma sheet.

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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