TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 64 (No. 2), pp. 57-59, 2012

Classes of the solar wind interactions in the solar system

Stas Barabash

Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 812, 98128, Kiruna, Sweden

(Received June 17, 2011; Revised December 8, 2011; Accepted January 13, 2012; Online published March 8, 2012)

Abstract: This short note classifies the interactions between different objects in the solar system and their environments with the solar wind or magnetospheric plasma. The classification is performed using a simple but physically justified M-B diagram, where M is the total mass of the neutral gas around the object and B is the magnetic field (either intrinsic or external) at the object. The solar system objects form groups within the diagram that correspond to the following general classes: magnetospheres, mini-magnetospheres, induced magnetospheres, cometary and Moon-like interactions. The Martian magnetic anomalies are unique objects. We also identify a class termed as combined magnetospheres, which does not contain any objects that meet the present conditions.
Key words: Planetary science, solar wind interactions, comparative magnetospheres.

Corresponding author E-mail: stas@irf.se

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