The magnetosphere is a layer of the earth that is formed by the interaction that occurs between the earth’s magnetism and the solar wind , the solar wind is caused by the movement of the sun’s corona in its own atmosphere. It is caused due to the magnetic field that the earth has. Virtually all the planets that exist have a magnetosphere, only Mars and Venus have none. Due to variations in the solar wind , it undergoes continuous modificationsboth in its shape and its structure, so that, when there is a deep intensity, it compresses in the direction of the sun and extends in the opposite direction. It is a region that surrounds the planet earth and begins with a height of 500 kilometers and extends to 60,000 kilometers.
What is the magnetosphere?
The magnetosphere is the outermost and largest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a very important layer that is responsible for protecting the earth’s atmosphere against ionic radiation radiated by radioactive elements such as uranium. Without it, all human, plant and animal life on the planet would die immediately.
- Characteristics of the magnetosphere
- Importance of the Earth’s magnetosphere
- Magnetosphere of mars
- Jupiter’s magnetosphere
- Magnetosphere of Saturn
The property of the compass needle to indicate north and south was discovered in China around the year 1000, and in 1600 William Gilbert in London showed that this could be explained if the whole earth were one large magnet. As a model for the magnetic earth he used a spherical magnet , which he called “little Earth.” He moved a small compass over the surface of a magnetized sphere model representing the earth and showed that it always pointed toward its magnetic poles . In the 1830s a worldwide network of magnetic observatories was established and it was discovered that the disturbancesof the compass needle, which were occasionally noticed, occurred in a worldwide pattern. They seemed to come from outside Earth, and Alexander Von Humboldt called them magnetic storms . After 1958, after the first scientific spacecraft was launched and when Explorers 1 and 3 discovered the radiation belt, scientists were able to appreciate the complexity of electrical and magnetic phenomena that occur in the Earth’s magnetic environment. In 1959, Thomas Gold of Cornell University proposed calling this environment the ” magnetosphere, ” and this name continues to be used to this day.
Characteristics of the magnetosphere
- It is the outermost part of a planet.
- It is located 100,000 kilometers from the earth.
- It acts as a shield against solar wind particles .
- Its interior is divided and large regions are distinguished in which the plasma is structured in a certain way, giving rise to the plasmosphere and within them the Van Allen belts .
- It is filled with plasma of ionospheric origin .
- Its magnetic field is well ordered.
The inner magnetosphere does not include the pole region and is relatively stable . It has a thick and hot plasma sheet located in the center of the tail, it is also a dynamic zone varying energy and density and the plasma here flows in different directions. The plasma sheet has its associated electricity flowing from side to side. The tail lobes are regions with smooth magnetic fields and point towards the ground, north of the equator . Sometimes you can see some layers on the magnetopause .
- Among the main functions of the magnetosphere we can mention the following:
- Protects the earth against particles from the sun.
- Protects the water in the atmosphere and the oceans by preventing the dissociation of hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
- Prevents malfunctions or interruptions in radio, radar, or satellite equipment.
- Its magnetic poles serve to give orientation to humans and some animals.
- It protects us against ionic radiation , preventing life on earth from being destroyed.
- It protects our planet from the radiation of solar particles and some cosmic particles , and it is also responsible for protecting the atmosphere from erosion caused by the solar wind – the constant flow of charged particles that leave the sun.
Importance of the Earth’s magnetosphere
Its importance lies in the fact that the Earth’s magnetosphere acts as a protective shield for the atmosphere, avoiding ionic radiation . This ionic radiation is very dangerous for living beings because it is the same radiation that radiates, for example, uranium . Without it, ionic radiation would enter our planet causing destruction to all forms of life that inhabit the planet. Without it, the water in the oceans and the atmosphere would be lost since, without it, the solar particles would have been able to destroy the hydrogen and oxygen atoms .
Magnetosphere of mars
Although Mars does not have a proper magnetosphere because it lacks a significant internal magnetic field, it is enveloped in the magnetic field that carries plasma from the Sun. Mars has been extensively explored by different American and Soviet space vehicles and has been observed in their vicinity strings of plasma attached to these magnetic lines, which gives them a particular magnetic and plasma environment.
This is the largest , most dynamic and in which the majority of processes that use more energy occur. The diameter of its tail is 3,000 radii and if it were possible to see it it would be four times larger than the moon. It comes from the volcanic gases inside and the pressure of the plasma is so great that thanks to it it manages to stop the solar wind .
Magnetosphere of Saturn
Its magnetosphere is still under study but is known to be one of the smaller and less dynamic, but has radiation belts in their magnetic fields are responsible for issuing waves of Radio that allowed their study from space.