The interplanetary medium and its interaction with the Earth's magnetosphere

Research paper by J. V. Kovalevsky

Indexed on: 01 Jun '71Published on: 01 Jun '71Published in: Space science reviews


This paper reviews the principal results of direct measurements of the plasma and magnetic field by spacecraft close to the Earth (within the heliocentric distance range 0.7–1.5 AU). The paper gives an interpretation of the results for periods of decrease, minimum and increase of the solar activity. The following problems are discussed: the interplanetary plasma (chemical composition, density, solar wind flow speed, temperature, temporal and spatial variation of these parameters), the interplanetary magnetic field (intensity, direction, fluctuations and its origin), some derived parameters characterizing the physical condition of the interplanetary medium; the quasi-stationary sector structure and its connection with solar and terrestrial phenomena; the magnetohydrodynamic discontinuities in the interplanetary medium (tangential discontinuities and collisionless shock waves); the solar magnetoplasma interaction with the geomagnetic field (the collisionless bow shock wave, the magnetosheath, the magnetopause, the Earth's magnetic tail, the internal magnetosphere characteristics), the connection between the geomagnetic activity and the interplanetary medium and magnetosphere parameters; peculiarities in behaviour of the interplanetary medium and magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms; energetic aspects of the geomagnetic storms.