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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

12 - The Magnetosphere

from Part III - Spatial and Temporal Variations of the Geomagnetic Field


Since the discovery of the magnetosphere-magnetotail system in the1950s-1960s), and the associated beginning of the satellite era, we have gained a well-informed understanding of this space plasma region permeated by the geomagnetic field and home to a variety of charged particle populations and plasma waves. Over the last six decades, IAGA has played an important role in supporting international magnetospheric research. Here we provide an overview of recent developments in energy transport from the solar wind into the Earth’s environment. Topics include, magnetosphere energy input, the role of the boundary layer. Solar wind interaction with the magnetosphere creates geomagnetic activity and the response of the region leading to sub-storms and steady magnetospheric convection are discussed. The charged particle energy (eV to MeV) inherent/contained in the magnetospheric ring current and Van Allen radiation belts establish many properties of the region, giving rise to boundary regions and waves. Results from recent state of the art and currently operating Earth orbiting satellites (Cluster, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, Magnetosphere MultiScale), are providing exciting new results. Waves from magnetospheric scale ultra-low frequency (ULF) from a few milliHertz, up to upper hybrid waves and continuum radiation in the 1-2 MHz band. Finally, current understanding of the plasmasphere and associated boundary the plasmapause, are considered.

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