ENAs at the Magnetopause
ENAs at the Magnetopause

Artist's representation of Earth'' magnetosphere. Earth is represented near the middle. The lines around the Earth are model magnetic field lines in Earth's magnetosphere. The blue fuzzy area around the Earth represents Earth's exosphere. Our Sun is well off of the edge of the drawing to the left. The pink area in front of Earth's magnetopause is the region where IBEX has detected energetic neutral atoms. As the solar wind streams outward from the Sun at a million miles per hour, the solar wind protons and electrons pile up along the outer boundary of Earth's magnetosphere, called the "magnetopause".

IBEX found that Energetic Neutral Atoms, or ENAs, are coming from a region just outside Earth's magnetopause where nearly stationary protons from the solar wind interact with the tenuous cloud of hydrogen atoms in Earth's exosphere. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator