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Plasmasphere Tides

11 February 2023
Astronomy, Electromagnetism

This story is at https://spaceweather.com … February 8th, 2023. Tides are associated with the rise and  fall of ocean waters in reponse to the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon. Now, researchers have discovered tides in the plasmasphere – and they are strange, we are told. To begin with, the plasmasphere is a lop sided doughnut of cold plasma inside Earth’s magnetic field. It is created by leakage from the top of earth’s atmosphere – the ionosphere. The outer surface of the plasmasphere is called the plasmapause – and that is where the tides are located.

The plasmapause might be described as the surface of a plasma ocean, the plasmasphere, surrounding the earth. A 40 year database has been collected, mainly from satellite observations. Do we now have lunar tides on the surface of a plasma ocean?

Moon’s gravity, it is theorised, could stretch and shape the plasmasphere – but the response is intriguing. The lunar, plasmaspheric tide, forms a small bulge offset 90 degrees ahead of the earth-moon axis. This is signficantly different to the high tide in the watery oceans. This effect was verified by nearly 36,000 plasmapause crossings by various spacecraft over 4 solar  cycles, 1977 to 2015. What else might be to blame?

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