On the Earth’s Bow Shock Near Solar Minimum

  • R. L. Kessel
  • S.-H. Chen
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (ASIC, volume 537)


Earth’s bow shock represents the outermost boundary between that region of geospace which is influenced by Earth’s magnetic field and the undisturbed interplanetary medium streaming from the Sun. This boundary is important because it is here that the streaming solar wind is slowed, heated, and partially deflected around the Earth’s magnetosphere. The bow shock has been extensively mapped and modeled ever since it was first discovered a number of decades ago and its gross position and shape are essentially known [e.g., Spreiter et al.,1966; Fairfield, 1971; Peredo et al., 1995]. These are empirical models described by a stand-off distance from the Earth at the nose and the amount of flaring on the flanks. The position and shape vary with solar wind conditions such as the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), the Alfvenic and fast magnetosonic Mach numbers. and the ram pressure.


Solar Wind Solar Cycle Interplanetary Magnetic Field Solar Minimum Solar Wind Speed 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Kessel
    • 1
  • S.-H. Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  2. 2.Raytheon STX/NASA GSFCGreenbeltUSA

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