Space Weather Event: Incoming View

  • Released Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:54PM
  • ID: 3739

We open with a view from high above the ecliptic plane, at the space between the Sun (left) and the Earth (within the small rectangular box on the right). In the plane of the Earth's orbit, we show a 'slice' of the Enlil model showing the particle density profile of the solar wind (white to yellow for decreasing particle density). The spiral 'rotating water sprinkler' pattern in the density is the Parker spiral (Wikipedia). The nested grid pattern centered on the Earth, provides a sense of scale to the scene. The smallest grid square in the opening view is 1,000 Earth radii on each side. The scale changes by a factor of ten for each step larger or smaller in size.

We zoom down to the Earth as the CME (orange surface) erupts in the direction of the Earth, then move into a position behind the Earth with the Sun visible in the distance.

As the particle density enhancement from the CME strikes the Earth, we see the Earth's magnetosphere respond, with the outer, high density surface (red) 'blown away'. This surface location corresponds roughly to the location of the bow shock. The bow shock has not been eliminated, only some of its particles have been depleted, to be carried off in the CME and solar wind. As the densest material of the CME passes (orange surface), plasma from the CME continues to flow by the Earth, stretching the magnetosphere into a long, thin structure behind the Earth.

The magnetosphere slowly recovers from the 'impact', and regions that can confine higher particle densities reform - the red surfaces return. But not for long as the rarefaction (Wikipedia) behind the CME reaches the Earth. This lower density region provides fewer particles to repopulate the magnetosphere and makes it easier for particles confined in the magnetosphere to 'leak' out into the solar wind.

For the BATS-R-US model, the isosurface colors correpond to densities of: red=20 AMUs per cubic centimeter, yellow=10.0 AMUs per cubic centimeter, light blue=1.0 AMUs per cubic centimeter, and blue=0.1 AMUs per cubic centimeter. An AMU corresponds to about the mass of a hydrogen atom, so the value roughly corresponds to the number of atoms per cubic centimeter.

This visualization is part of a series of visualizations on space weather modeling.

A view high above the Earth's orbital plane, showing the Sun and the Earth.  The Parker spiral pattern is visible in the density of the solar wind.

A view high above the Earth's orbital plane, showing the Sun and the Earth. The Parker spiral pattern is visible in the density of the solar wind.

With this view, we look down on the Earth from above the Earth's orbital plane as the CME is about to strike the Earth.  The density isosurfaces of the BATS-R-US model are visible in the computational box surrounding the Earth.

With this view, we look down on the Earth from above the Earth's orbital plane as the CME is about to strike the Earth. The density isosurfaces of the BATS-R-US model are visible in the computational box surrounding the Earth.

The highest density region of the CME has passed, depleting the Earth's magnetosphere of particles (the lower density blue isosurfaces).  The satellites in halo orbits around L1 are visible in the distance while the Moon, as well as several geospace satellites are seen orbiting the Earth.

The highest density region of the CME has passed, depleting the Earth's magnetosphere of particles (the lower density blue isosurfaces). The satellites in halo orbits around L1 are visible in the distance while the Moon, as well as several geospace satellites are seen orbiting the Earth.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, the Space Weather Research Center (SWRC), the Community-Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) and the Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF), Enlil and Dusan Odstrcil (GMU).


Series

This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

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