Sun  ID: 3743

Space Weather Event: Close-up on the Earth Environment

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).

We zoom down to the Earth as the CME (orange surface) erupts in the direction of the Earth and move into a position above the Earth's orbital plane with the Earth (geospace) environment in view.

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 are: 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, the dominant component of the solar wind.

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



Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Producer
Michael Hesse (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
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).

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Data Used:
JPL/Horizon Orbital Ephemerides 2006/1211T02:24:42 -2006/12/15T23:55:02
Enlil Heliospheric Model 2006/1211T02:24:42 -2006/12/15T23:55:02
BATS-R-US Magnetosphere Model 2006/12/14T13:00:00 - 2006/12/15T13:00:00
SSCweb 2006/1211T02:24:42 -2006/12/15T23:55:02
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:
Space Weather Modeling

SVS >> Computer Model
SVS >> Geomagnetic Field
SVS >> Magnetosphere
SVS >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity
SVS >> Space Weather
NASA Science >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Coronal Mass Ejections

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version