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
- 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)
- 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)
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