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This tool displays the estimated location of the Earth's magnetopause, the abrupt boundary separating the solar wind from the Earth's magnetic field. The stand-off distance and shape of the magnetopause are controlled by the dynamic and static pressure of the solar wind, the pressure of the Earth's magnetic field, and the orientation of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). The solar wind and IMF field data used for this model originate from the NOAA/NASA DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) spacecraft orbiting the L1 point (a point between the Sun and Earth where gravitational forces balance).
The graphical presentation is in the equatorial plane as viewed from above the Earth's north pole. Geosynchronous orbit is shown at a distance of 6.6 Earth radii (Re) from the centre of the planet, with four longitude spokes. The locations of 12 geosynchronous satellites are indicated. The legend in the lower left identifies the satellites.
Shue JH et al, A new functional form to study the solar wind control of the magnetopause size and shape, JGR, v102, pp9497-9511, May 1997.
Shue JH et al, Magnetopause location under extreme solar wind condition, JGR, v103, pp17691-17700, August 1998.