Science Seminars

Imaging the Global Magnetosphere in Soft X-rays

Speaker: David Sibeck (NASA/GSFC)
Date: Thursday, Aug 13, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

Heliophysicists seek to understand the complex nature of the solar wind’s global interaction with the terrestrial magnetosphere. Historically, they have employed single or multipoint local in-situ field and particle observations, made at times when spacecraft were fortuitously located (e.g., a magnetopause crossing), in conjunction with local and global simulations to gain insight into the global interaction. Observations by astrophysics missions such as ROSAT, XMM, and Chandra demonstrate that soft X-rays emitted when high charge state solar wind ions exchange charges with exospheric neutrals can be used to define the solar wind’s interaction with comets, Venus, Mars, and the Earth. This presentation examines the predictions of numerical simulations and past soft X-ray observations of Earth’s environment to show how soft X-ray imaging provides a unique perspective on the global significance of proposed dayside and nightside interaction mechanisms, such as steady or transient, local or global, component, anti-parallel, or maximum shear reconnection for which in-situ measurements rarely suffice. By defining the morphology of magnetospheric plasma density structures, we can routinely determine the global extent, variation, and significance of these interaction modes.