Akasofu, S. I. Department of Geophysics, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Solar wind–magnetosphere generator
- Auroral phenomena
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A comet-shaped cavity or bubble around the Earth, carved in the solar wind. This cavity is formed because the Earth's magnetic field represents an obstacle to the solar wind, which is a supersonic flow of plasma blowing away from the Sun. As a result, the solar wind flows around the Earth, confining the Earth and its magnetic field into a long cylindrical cavity with a blunt nose (Fig. 1). Since the solar wind is a supersonic flow, it also forms a bow shock a few earth radii away from the front of the cavity. The boundary of the cavity is called the magnetopause. The region between the bow shock and the magnetopause is called the magnetosheath. The Earth is located about 10 earth radii from the blunt-nosed front of the magnetopause. The long cylindrical section of the cavity is called the magnetotail, which is on the order of a few thousand earth radii in length, extending approximately radially away from the Sun. See also: Solar wind
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information