Electric Currents in Geospace and Beyond

Electric Currents in Geospace and Beyond book by the American Geophysical Union.

electric currents also occur in nature by themselves and run the show in outer space… It is now understood that outer space is fundamentally electrical in nature.

If you are into plasma based cosmologies like the Thunderbolt’s Electric Universe theory or Anthony Peratt’s Plasma Universe then this must be the unintended peer reviewed EU Bible. If you can afford this rather expensive book or still bloody expensive ebook.

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A summary of each chapter is also available.

Electric Currents in Geospace and Beyond book review

A remarkable result of space research is that there are several common current systems (ring currents, current sheets, field-aligned currents, ionospheric currents) that occur at several planets in spite of their great differences, such as physical dimension, planetary rotation rate, ionospheric conductivity, and exposed solar wind conditions. However, along with these current systems goes a large variety of different aspects of each current system.

What are the main characteristics of electric currents in near-Earth space? In our homes and in cities, electric currents are guided along thin wires, but this is far from the case in outer space. Electric currents are spread out over a few hundreds of meters to tens of thousands of kilometers, and their cumulative magnitudes are much bigger than any currents on Earth. For example, the ring current, with a strength of 2–4 million Amperes (MA), flows in closed loops in an equatorial current sheet out to distances of 60,000 kilometers and merges into the magnetotail current on the nightside beyond this distance. The strength of the tail current exceeds 10 MA and is closed at the dawn and dusk flanks of the magnetotail by the Chapman‐Ferraro current system of the magnetopause. Field-aligned currents flow between the ionosphere and magnetosphere along the background magnetic field with magnitudes of 1-3 MA.

How do the characteristics of electric current systems vary around other planets and heliospheric bodies? Interestingly, electric currents organize themselves in similar fashion around planets having an ionosphere and a magnetosphere while being buffeted by the solar wind. In comparison to Earth, the ring currents at Saturn and Jupiter are about 10 and 90 MA, respectively, while the tail currents are greater than 10 and 70 MA, respectively. The large-scale field-aligned currents between ionosphere and magnetosphere can reach magnitudes of 6 and 60 MA at Saturn and Jupiter, respectively. In contrast, the Sun’s electric currents are orders of magnitude larger. For example, currents at the surface of the Sun near sunspots are typically 100,000-1,000,000 MA.
Electric Currents in Outer Space Run the Show

Electric Currents in Geospace and Beyond book chapter summary examples

This chapter gives an overview of the properties of the magnetodisk current in the Jovian system. We describe the global morphology of the current sheet embedded in the plasmadisk / magnetodisk and the observational signatures of currents in this structure. We then consider the role of disk currents in force balance and plasmasheet structure in an axisymmetric, rotating system. We also describe the dependence of current density on spatial location, global size of the magnetosphere, and asymmetries plausibly associated with the influence of solar wind. We conclude with a simplified description of the microscopic nature of the particle motions in the magnetospheric plasma, whose collective action produces the currents themselves.
The Nature of Jupiter’s Magnetodisk Current System – Chapter 8

We review research into the Birkeland currents (also known as field‐aligned currents) that has been conducted using the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE). We open with a short review of the history of research into the Birkeland current systems, before describing the conception of AMPERE and its roots in Iridium telecommunications satellite engineering telemetry data. We describe the difference between Iridium engineering telemetry data and AMPERE data, and review the work that has been done using both datasets. We review research into Regions 1 and 2 Birkeland current during geomagnetic storms and consequently the ways in which the currents are driven by the solar wind, before moving onto the substorm current wedge and discussing the present controversy over this phenomenon in AMPERE data. Ways in which AMPERE data can be used to examine ionospheric conductivity are detailed alongside ways in which AMPERE has contributed to empirical models of the coupled solar wind‐magnetosphere‐ionosphere system. Finally, we look to the future and speculate on the manner in which AMPERE may yet unlock the secrets of the magnetosphere.
A Review of Birkeland Current Research Using AMPERE – Chapter 16

In this chapter, a review is given about currents in cometary comae. First, from a historical viewpoint, developments about the knowledge of comets are given. The first space missions to comets are discussed, in particular the missions to comet 1P/Halley, which gave many in situ observations about the plasma environment around the nucleus and the interaction with the solar wind. Solar‐wind draping around the nucleus results in current sheets. Possible reconnection in the tail or in the nested draped field regions also generates currents. After the historic view, the focus moves to the Rosetta mission around comet 67P/Churyumov‐Gerasimenko and the latest results on the observations of electric currents in the coma.
Currents in Cometary Comae – Chapter 30

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