Photos of the Sun

Earth's magnetosphere The Earth, the Moon and Mars

Earth's magnetosphere The Earth, the Moon and Mars

The Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, regulates the behavior of charged particles in space near Earth and protects our planet from solar wind. Explosions in the Sun can charge the magnetosphere with energy, generating magnetic storms that affect satellites, communications and electricity transmission systems.

Earth's magnetosphere traps electrified gas, called plasma. The tail-shaped structure in the Earth's plasma is formed as some of the gas is poured into the Sun. It is thought that this structure is a plasma flow that returns to the Sun when the solar wind impacts and distorts the magnetosphere , compressing it on the diurnal side of the Earth, just like what happens with a raindrop. The magnetosphere is stretched to the night side, like the tail of the drop, shaping it.

Plasma near the boundaries of the magnetosphere is dragged by the solar wind, but is then carried around the Earth and forced to return in the direction of the Sun. There is an amazing activity during magnetic storms, which occur when the solar wind hits the Earth's magnetosphere.

◄ PreviousNext ►
The Earth, the Moon and MarsPlanet Earth
Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Earth, Moon and Mars