Plasma in the Magnetosphere

Despite what a lot of people think, space isn't actually empty, and the Earth's magnetosphere is no exception! The magnetosphere is full of plasma of many different temperatures and densities - though most of it is too tenuous to see with the naked eye or even with a telescope. The air at sea level has a 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 particles per cubic centimetre and a temperature of 20 degrees C. The densest, coldest part of the magnetosphere, the plasmasphere has between 10 and 10,000 particles per cubic centimetre and a temperature of 58,000 degrees C - hotter than the surface of the Sun!

All of the plasma in the magnetosphere comes from either the ionopshere or the solar wind. One of the great mysteries of the magnetosphere is how all of these different plasmas are produced from only those two starting points.

Page last modified on 25 aug 11 13:16