News of the WeekMAGNETOSPHERIC PHYSICS

Magnetic Storms Have Two Drivers, Not One

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Science  28 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5539, pp. 2370
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5539.2370a

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Summary

Space physicists have long known that the gale of charged particles howling by Earth at supersonic speeds bears the ultimate responsibility for magnetic storms, but they have vacillated between two very different explanations of how the solar wind roils Earth's magnetosphere. Now, a study using the latest in magnetospheric probes--published in the 1 September issue of Geophysical Research Letters --may settle the sometimes contentious issue: Both explanations appear to be right.