University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Wednesday, March 28th 2018
3:30 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in Physics 201-20
Speaker: Barry Mauk, APL
Subject: Comparing the energetic particle populations of planetary magnetospheres

We compare planetary magnetospheres in different ways. Do we observe the same phenomenology? Are the same physical processes in play? It is, in fact, a challenge to compare planetary space environments quantitatively in a fashion that leads to a more predictive understanding. I examine here the differences and similarities of the strongly magnetized planetary magnetospheres of the solar system by examining their most energetic particle populations. For both trapped electron radiation and energetic ions comprising ring current populations, updated and extended versions of the classic Kennel-Petschek theory provide reasonable metrics for quantitatively comparing the populations of all of the strongly magnetized planetary magnetospheres. These comparisons are substantially revealing with regard to the character and states of the space environments of the respective planets. Comparisons between Earth and Jupiter are of particular interest in that these two environments are representative of the extremes of magnetospheric conditions; one the canonical solar-wind-driven magnetosphere and the other the canonical rotationally-driven magnetosphere. And yet, both are extremely active and energetic in their own ways.

Faculty Host: Robert Lysak

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