The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere

     Illustration by Steele Hill

An educational web site by David P. Stern and Mauricio Peredo          

.           Your comments and suggestions may be sent to Dr. David P. Stern at earthmag("at" symbol) . Unless overloaded, I will try to reply. If your question concerns any file here, please name it!

     Many more related websites:
     Recent addition:           Welcome to my World, a diverse collection of writings.
    "tared and zipped" compressed version of this set (4 Mb) .
    "tar" version joining all files (no compression, 6.4 Mb) at

  • Open here the home page of a Spanish translation   "La Exploración de la Magnetosfera Terrestre", by J. Méndez of Algorta, Spain.
  • Open here the home page of a French translation   L'Exploration de la Magnétosphère Terrestre , by Kamil Fadel and Marielle Vergès of Paris, France. Only sections listed there in bold face have been translated.
The Spanish version covers most files, but the French one is still underway (3/2003). Both home pages list translated files in bold face.
    We actively seek volunteer translators to other languages. Please contact the author Dr. David P. Stern at   earthmag("at" symbol) .


This is the home page of an overview of space research on the Earth's environment in space. The description is non-mathematical but quite detailed, and here is what it contains:


    Overview.... for those not sure how to use this site.

    Introduction (former home page).... what to expect to find here.

SUMMARY FILES     .... Capsule descriptions of the different sections:


TABLE OF CONTENTS .... The files themselves:

1. The Magnetosphere
      1H. History: 1600--Gilbert's Terrella.
2. Magnetic Fields
      2H. History: 1820: Oersted discovers electromagnetism.
3. The Polar Aurora
      3H. History: Birkeland models the aurora in his laboratory

4. Electrons
      4H. History: 1896--J.J.Thomson discovers the electron
4a. Electricity as a Fluid
5. Magnetic Field Lines
      5H. History: 1846--Faraday introduces the idea of fields.
6. Electromagnetic Waves
7. Plasma
      7a. The Fluorescent Lamp: a plasma you can use
      7H. History : 1927--Irving Langmuir has a new use for the word "plasma".
8. Positive Ions
      8H. History: 1884--Svante Arrhenius proposes a theory of "ions".
9. Trapped Radiation
      9H. History: 1896--Henri Poincare shows magnetic field lines guide ions.
10. Motion of Trapped Radiation
      10H. History: 1910--Einstein introduces "adiabatic invariants".
10a. Particle Drift in Space    (optional)
11. Explorers 1 and 3
12. The Radiation Belts
      12H. History: 1958--Inner radiation belt is explained.
13. Energetic Particles
14. Synchronous Orbit
15. Energy
16. The Sun
      16H. History: 1843--Heinrich Schwabe discovers the sunspot cycle.
17. The Sun's Corona
18. The Solar Wind
      18A. Drawing Interplanetary Magnetic Field Lines.
18H. History: 1959, 1961--First direct observations of the solar wind.
19. The Magnetopause
      19H. History: 1930--the magnetic storm theory of Chapman and Ferraro.
20. Structure of the Earth's Magnetosphere
21. Lagrangian Points
22. The Wind Spacecraft
23. The Tail of the Magnetosphere
24. Substorms
25. Electric Currents from Space
      25H. History: 1903--Birkeland observes the electric currents of the polar aurora.
26. The Polar Caps
      26H. History: 1895--Birkeland's terrella experiment.
27. Auroral Imaging
28. Auroral acceleration
29. Low Polar Orbit
30. Magnetic Storms
31. Space Weather
32. Magnetospheres other than Ours
33. Cosmic Rays
34 High Energy Particles in the Universe
35. Solar Energetic Particles


For a quick rundown of what these files cover, look up the Overview file. Or else, start wherever your interest lies!

And by the way...   "Exploration" was recommended by "Web Watch" in the January 1999 issue of Physics Today (page 63).

Last updated 20 November 2003