The moon

, Volume 7, Issue 3–4, pp 279–292 | Cite as

Topology of induced lunar magnetic fields

  • K. Schwartz
  • G. Schubert


Using the asymmetric theory of lunar induction derived by Schubertet al. (1973a), we have obtained the total and induced magnetic field line structure within the Moon and the diamagnetic cavity. Total field distributions are shown for orientations of the oscillating interplanetary field parallel, perpendicular and at 45° to the cavity axis. Induced field lines are shown only for the orientations of the interplanetary field parallel and orthogonal to the cavity axis. When compared with the field lines derived using the long wavelength limit of spherically symmetric vacuum induction theory, the configurations obtained using the asymmetric theory exhibit significant distortion. For all orientations of the interplanetary field, the field lines are strongly compressed on the sunlit hemisphere because of the confining solar wind pressure at the lunar surface and the exclusion of the field by the lunar ‘core’. Field line compression is also observed in the antisolar region in agreement with the experimental observations of Schubertet al. (1973b). and Smithet al. (1973). For the parallel orientation of the interplanetary field, antisolar compression is caused by cavity confinement of the induced field. For the interplanetary field perpendicular to the cavity axis there is, in addition to compression by the cavity boundary, redistribution of field lines from the sunlit to the night side. In this case field lines entering the Moon just forward of the limb pass through the lunar ‘crust’ on the night side and then exit forward of the limb. This phenomenon manifests itself as a displacement of the null in the induced magnetic field at the surface sunward of the limb, in striking similarity to the magnetospheric field lines of the Earth.


Solar Wind Field Line Lunar Surface Wind Pressure Cavity Axis 
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  1. Schubert, G. and Schwartz, K.: 1972,J. Geophys. Res. 77, 76.Google Scholar
  2. Schubert, G., Sonett, C. P., Schwartz, K., and Lee, H. J.: 1973a,J. Geophys. Res., in press.Google Scholar
  3. Schubert, G., Smith, B. F., Sonett, C. P., Colburn, D. S., and Schwartz, K.: 1973b, submitted toJ. Geophys. Res. Google Scholar
  4. Smith, B. F., Colburn, D. S., Schubert, G., Schwartz, K., and Sonett, C. P.: 1973, ‘The Induced Magnetosphere of the Moon II. Experimental Results from Apollo 12 and Explorer 35’, submitted toJ. Geophys. Res. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Schwartz
    • 1
  • G. Schubert
    • 2
  1. 1.Woodland HillsUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Planetary and Space ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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