Natural mini-magnetospheres on the Moon
Mini-magnetospheres above the Lunar Surface and the Formation of Lunar Swirls
R.A. Bamford1,*, B. Kellett1, W.J. Bradford1, C. Norberg23, K.J. Gibson3, I.A. Crawford4, L. Silva5, L. Gargaté5, R. Bingham6,1
- RAL Space, STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell
Oxford, Didcot, OX11 0QX, U.K.
- Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 812, SE-981 28 Kiruna,
- York Plasma Institute, Department of Physics, University of
York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
- Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck College,
London, United Kingdom
- GoLP/Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear, Instituto
Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisboa Portugal.
- University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
In this paper we present in situ satellite data, theory, and laboratory validation that show how small-scale collisionless shocks and mini-magnetospheres can form on the electron inertial scale length. The resulting retardation and deflection of the solar wind ions could be responsible for the unusual "lunar swirl" patterns seen on the surface of the Moon.