These ions are caught up in an electric field that's created by the solar magnetic field
as it blows into Mars's upper atmosphere.
That old adage accurately describes the behavior of the solar magnetic field
revealed by a new study.
At the bottom of the next page is a high-resolution map of the solar magnetic field
, constructed from HMI data.
"Understanding complexities in the solar magnetic field
is key to 'space weather' forecasting," said Richard Behnke of NSF's (National Science Foundation's) Division of Atmospheric Sciences.
These include a craft designed to study the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle, a satellite that will trace the emergence of the solar magnetic field
from beneath the sun's visible surface to its outer atmosphere, and student-built instruments to study Earth's atmosphere.
Other factors, including sun spots, solar winds, variations in the solar magnetic field
and solar irradiation, could all be affecting temperature changes, he added.
A group of four identical craft known as Cluster will fly in formation to study small-scale structures within Earth's magnetosphere-the region surrounding our planet that's dominated by the terrestrial rather than the solar magnetic field
The door was thought to open up when the solar magnetic field
direction points opposite to Earth's field, leading to more solar particles inside the shield.
Accurate spectroscopy, detailed comparisons of irradiance with magnetograms, and the application of models such as the aforementioned field-dispersal model should allow us to recreate the solar magnetic field
and the solar irradiance over time and compare it with historical weather records.
It ventured within 42,000 kilometers of Jupiter's cloud tops, discovered a new ring and two moonlets of Saturn, and flew high enough above the sun's equatorial plane to detect the true character of the solar magnetic field
. Now, after exploring the solar system for nearly 22 years and 6.6 billion km, the Pioneer 11 spacecraft has begun dying a slow death.
When this does occur, we will enter a hotter, harsher environment called the interstellar matrix, which could shrink or expand the heliosphere and affect the outermost solar magnetic field
. It's also possible that another cloud will engulf the Sun and planets as it rushes away from the maelstrom of the Scorpius-Centaurus Association.