The plasmasphere, or inner
magnetosphereis a region of the Earth's magnetosphereconsisting of low energy (cool) plasma. It is located above the ionosphere. The outer boundary of the plasmasphere is known as the plasmapause, which is defined by an order of magnitude drop in plasma density.
The plasmasphere was discovered in 1963 by Don Carpenter from the analysis of VLF whistler wave data.
Traditionally, the plasmasphere has been regarded as a well behaved cold plasma with particle motion dominated entirely by the
geomagnetic fieldand hence corotating with the Earth. In contrast, recent satelliteobservations have shown that density irregularities such as plumes or biteouts may form. It has also been shown that the plasmasphere does not always co-rotate with the Earth.
* [http://plasmasphere.nasa.gov/ NASA web site]
* [http://www.windows.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/tour_def/glossary/plasmasphere.html University of Michigan description]
* [http://www.cs.uah.edu/visgig/research/research.html University of Alabama in Huntsville research]
* [http://pluto.space.swri.edu/IMAGE/glossary/plasmasphere.html Southwest Research Institute description]
* [http://euv.lpl.arizona.edu/euv/index.html IMAGE Extreme Ultraviolet Imager]
* [http://pluto.space.swri.edu/image/plasmasphere_images.html EUV Images of the plasmasphere]
* Carpenter, D. L., Whistler evidence of a 'knee' in the magnetospheric ionization density profile, J. Geophys. Res., 68, 1675-1682, 1963.
* Nishida, A., Formation of plasmapause, or magnetospheric plasma knee, by combined action of magnetospheric convections and plasma escape from the tail, J. Geophys. Res., 71, 5669, 1966.
* Sandel, B. R., et al., Extreme ultraviolet imager observations of the structure and dynamics of the plasmasphere, Space Sci. Rev., 109, 25, 2003.
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