2. Magnetospheres


This module is designed to introduce you to some of the elementary properties of planetary magnetic fields.

Pointer position (Cartesian)
Magnetic field (Cartesian)
Pointer position (polar)
Magnetic field (polar)
Total field and invariant latitude
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This option introduces the dipole magnetosphere of each of the planets. The magnetic field lines are traced using the formula

R = Lcos2θ

where R is the radial distance of a point along the field line, L is the radius of the field line at the magnetic equator, and θ is the magnetic latitude. The density of the field lines denote the strength of the magnetic field.

This option allows you to examine the "mirror-dipole" magnetosphere of Chapman and Ferraro, and to see in a simple analytic model how the magnetosphere is compressed by the solar wind.

This option illustrates a magnetosphere in which the equatorial field near the boundary is tripled because of the highly curved spherical magnetopause surface.

This option illustrates Tsyganenko's vacuum magnetosphere, which is confined inside an elongated ellipse. With its realistically-shaped dayside magnetophause, the field at the nose in this model is compressed by a factor of 2.44 over the undisturbed dipole field at this distance.

This option allows you to probe Tsyganenko's empirical magnetosphere, which is distorted relative to the vacuum magnetosphere because of the implicit presence of internal plasma.