Document Type

Honors Thesis


The solar wind pushes against Earth’s magnetic field to form a cavity called the magnetosphere, which contains Earth’s dipole field. The magnetopause is the boundary between the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) and Earth’s dipole field, and its shape and location are dependent upon pressure balance. At the magnetopause, the Chapman-Ferraro current layer flows, balancing the pressure of the solar wind and accounting for the change of the magnetic field. The total current of the magnetopause fluctuates due to changes in the magnitude of solar wind magnetic field and the solar wind dynamic pressure. This study observes the approximate total current of the dayside magnetopause as a function of the solar wind pressure for both positive and negative z-components of the solar wind. Results show similar positive correlations between the total current of the dayside magnetopause to solar wind pressure during periods of northward and southward IMF.

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