Earth is at left and the large arc around it is our planet’s magnetic bow shock, like the pattern the bow of a boat makes when moving through water. The swirling pattern to the right is the foreshock region where the solar wind breaks into waves as it encounters reflected particles from the bow shock. The image is a computer simulation developed at the University of Helsinki to study Earth’s magnetic interaction with the solar wind, which is a continuous stream of high speed electrons and protons expelled by the sun. Vlasiator team, University of Helsinki
When a solar storm hits the Earth not only do we see aurora, but the planet hums an eerie tune. The unusual song resembles the chipping of birds mixed with a the swirling, burbling sounds of electrons dancing in magnetic fields. New data from European Space Agency’s Cluster mission reveals that the song comes from waves generated in Earth’s magnetic field when a storm of electrically-charge particles from the sun slams into it.
Artist’s view of the Cluster spacecraft, a constellation of four spacecraft that fly in formation through and across Earth’s magnetic field. ESA
Cluster consists of four spacecraft that orbit ...