Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism

2007 Edition
| Editors: David Gubbins, Emilio Herrero-Bervera


  • Michael E. Purucker
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4423-6_208

NASA (US) scientific satellite (1979–1980) made the first precise, globally distributed measurements of the vector magnetic field near Earth. The satellite flew at an altitude of 300–550 km, in a near‐polar inclination. Researchers modeling the Magsat data have developed representations of the internal field extending from  spherical harmonic (q.v.) 1–36 for the vector field (Lowe et al., 2001), with additional resolution to 65 for the scalar field (Sabaka et al., 2004). Magsat also contributed significantly to the understanding of the ionospheric magnetic field, and the meridional current systems through which the satellite flew. The most demanding aspect of making vector magnetic measurements from space is in precise alignment, which must be at the arc‐second level. Magnetic field measurements have been made from near‐Earth space since 1958, when Sputnik 3 (USSR) collected fluxgate magnetometer measurements of the field with accuracies of about 100 nT. Magsat's measurements of the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Langel, R.A., Berbert, J., Jennings, T., and Horner, R., 1981. Magsat Data Processing: A report for investigators, NASA Technical Memorandum 82160.Google Scholar
  2. Langel, R.A., and Hinze, W.J., 1998. The Magnetic Field of the Earth's Lithosphere: The Satellite Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Lowe, D.A.J., Parker, R.L., Purucker, M.E., and Constable, C.G., 2001. Estimating the crustal power spectrum from vector Magsat data. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106: 8589–8598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Potemra, T.A. et al., 1980. John Hopkins APL Technical Digest. The Magsat issue, July‐September, 1980. 12 articles, pp. 162–232.Google Scholar
  5. Sabaka, T.J., Olsen, N., and Purucker, M., 2004. Extending comprehensive models of the Earth's magnetic field with Oersted and CHAMP data. Geophysical Journal International, 159: 521–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. Purucker

There are no affiliations available