Image of IMAGE in space

IMAGE Takes the Magnetosphere's Temperature

Magnetosphere Temperature

The IMAGE/MENA team members have created a new way to measure the temperatures of ions trapped in Earth's magnetosphere by using data from the MENA instrument. By measuring the Energetic Neutral Atom energies in each pixel of the image compiled from many hours of observations, they were able to produce thermal maps of the temperature of the ions within 15 Re of Earth. This is a region that covers the entire volume of space including the Ring Current, Van Allen Belts and parts of the magnetopause. The data could be blocked into specific phases during a magnetic storm episode to study the changes in the energies and space distributions of the ions.

(2004: Micea et al.)

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Additional Information

Ion -An atom in which one or more electrons has been removed so that the atom has a net positive charge.

Magnetopause - The boundary between Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind, where the pressure of each system is in approximate balance. It is the location where Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind magnetic field are in direct contact, and where energy between these two systems can be exchanged through magnetic fields and/or charged particles.

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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 July 2004, EVB II