Magnetosphere

Magnetosphere is not spherical but it shaped like an elongated teardrop
with rounded end of the teardrop facing towards the Sun. (diagram)

1 : Bow shock     2 : Magnetosheath     3 : Magnetopause     4 : Magnetosphere
5 : Northern tail lobe     6 : Southern tail lobe     7 : Plasmasphere

Earth’s Magnetosphere

  • 1: Bow shock  –  immediately to the sunward side of the magnetopause is a shockwave; this is called the bow shock – that is caused by the solar wind being deflected by the magetopause.
  • 2: Magnetosheath    the region of space between the magnetopause and the bow shock of a Earth’s magnetosphere.
  • 3: Magnetopause  –  the sunward edge of the magnetosphere is called the magnetopause and is located about 438,000 miles from the Earth.
  • 4: Magnetosphere  –  the region of space within the influence of earth’s magnetic field – the magnetosphere shields the earth from most of the effects of the solar wind.
  • 5: Northern tail lobe  –  on the side away from the Sun – the magnetosphere trails away like the tail of a comet in what is known as the magnetotail.
  • 6: Southern tail lobe  –  on the side away from the Sun – the magnetosphere trails away like the tail of a comet in what is known as the magnetotail.
  • 7: Plasmasphere    Earth’s plasmasphere is an inner part of the magneteosphere. It is located just outside the upper ionosphere located in Earth’s atmosphere. (diagram: ionosphere)

 

Magnetosphere

  • although the magetosphere deflects most of the charged particles coming from the Sun and cosmic rays, some get through and become concentrated in two doughnut-shaped regions of radiation known as the Van Allen belts. (diagram).
  • 8 planets in our solar system – Venus and mars are the only two that do not have  their own magnetosphere. (diagram: Venus / Mars)
  • Jupiter has by far the largest magnetosphere and its magetosphere is located about nearly 4 million miles from the Jupiter’s surface. (diagram)
  • magnetism of Earth’s Moon – too weak to produce a magnetosphere, but two of Jupiter’s moons – Io and Ganymede, have magnetic fields of enough strength. (diagram: Io / Ganymede)

 

Did you know?

  • stars also produce magnetic fields and have magnetospheres too – the Sun’s magnetosphere is called the heliosphere and its magnetopause (called the heliopause) has a radius of more than 7,440 billion miles.  (diagram)

 

Back to The Solar System page.

 

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