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Calculation by a Moment Technique of the Perturbation of the Geomagnetic Field by the Solar Wind


Midgley, James Eardley (1963) Calculation by a Moment Technique of the Perturbation of the Geomagnetic Field by the Solar Wind. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/F6XJ-4H41.


An iterative method is developed by which one can calculate approximately the boundary of a magnetic field confined by a plasma. This method consists essentially of varying an assumed surface until the magnetic multipole moments of the currents, which would flow on that surface to balance the plasma pressure, cancel the corresponding moments of the magnetic sources within the surface. The method is applied to two problems.

For a dipole source of moment M emu in a plasma of uniform pressure p dynes/cm^2 that does not penetrate the magnetic field, the approximate equation of the surface is r = 0.82615 M^(1/3) p^(-1/6)(1-0.120039α^2 - .004180α^4 - .001085α^6 + .000200α^8 - .000597α^(10) + .000326α^(12) - .000094α^(14)) cm, where α is the latitude in radians from the plane normal to M.

The surface formed by a cold plasma of density N_0 and pair mass velocity M_t moving past a dipole of moment Me_y with a velocity –U_oe_z extends to infinity downwind. In a coordinate system (x, y, z) centered at the dipole, neutral points, where the surface is parallel to the wind direction, occur at the points (0, ±R_n, .27R_n), and other points on the surface are (0, 0, 1.02R_n), (0, ±2R_n, -∞) and (±1.97R_n, 0, -∞). R_n = 1.0035 (M/(M_tN_oU^2_o)^(-1/2)^(1/3) is about 9 earth radii for the solar wind case.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Physics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Davis, Leverett
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1963
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05172012-071917019
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7038
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 May 2012 18:25
Last Modified:08 Jan 2024 23:07

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