Magnetic Measurements of the Solar Wind Interaction with the Moon
The solar wind is almost completely absorbed or neutralized by the lunar surface leaving a plasma void on the antisolar side of the Moon. The magnetic signature of this interaction, as observed by the Apollo 15 subsatellite, is an enhanced field directly behind the Moon, bounded on either side by two dips in the field strength. On occasion, compressions of the field strength are observed external to either one or sometimes both of these dips. Theories of the interaction postulate either that these compressions are a general feature of the solar wind-Moon interaction modulated by changes in the solar wind parameters or that they are associated with the appearance of specific lunar regions at the limbs. The measurements of the lunar magnetic field with the Apollo 15 and 16 sub-satellites, the mapping of projected source positions of limb compressions onto the lunar surface, and the study of the persistance of limb compressions supports the hypothesis that limb compressions are formed when regions of high magnetization are at the lunar limbs.
KeywordsSolar Wind Rarefaction Wave Lunar Surface Ecliptic Plane Solar Wind Parameter
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