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Figure 5.1 The Earth and its atmosphere are surrounded by the near-space environment. The solar wind carries magnetized plasma and energetic solar particles into the vicinity of the Earth, which is shielded from their direct impact by the magnetosphere, a relatively self-contained region in space whose global topology is organized by the magnetic field associated with the Earth. Courtesy of T. Potemra, NASA publication.

auroral Joule heating, and energetic neutral atoms produced from extraterrestrial ring current flows. Eventually, plasma particles convert part of their energy to radiation modes such as auroral displays and kilometric radiation.

Solar Eruptive Events and Geomagnetic Storms

Explosive outbursts from the Sun release energy primarily in the form of X-rays, UV radiation, energetic particles, magnetized plasma, and shock waves. Large injections into the magnetosphere of magnetized plasma from the Sun generate major disturbances called geomagnetic



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