External Aerodynamics of the Magnetosphere

  • John R. Spreiter
  • Alberta Y. Alksne
  • Audrey L. Summers
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 10)


The flow of the solar wind past the earth and its magnetosphere constitutes a problem similar in many ways to the familiar, but complex problem of the external aerodynamics of round-nosed bodies in a supersonic stream. It is the purpose of this paper to provide a résumé of some of the basic ideas, both theoretical and experimental, that support this correspondence, and to present a connected account of many of the principal quantitative results that have been obtained through application and extension of methods developed originally for the aerodynamics of re-entry vehicles. In addition, the basic concepts of the theory of the solar wind itself are outlined in some detail in order to illustrate the basic unity of the entire theoretical description of the solar wind and its interaction with the geomagnetic field. Finally, extensive discussions of the internal consistency of the theory and the degree to which the results correspond to conditions observed in space are included for the purpose of providing an understanding of the overall reliability of the theory.


Shock Wave Solar Wind Mach Number Interplanetary Magnetic Field Supersonic Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Spreiter
    • 1
  • Alberta Y. Alksne
    • 1
  • Audrey L. Summers
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Sciences Division, Ames Research CenterNASAMoffett FieldUSA

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