Introduction to Space Physics

Introduction to Space Physics

M.G. Kivelson & C.T. Russell
Published in: Cambridge Unversity Press
Release Year: 1995
Pages: 505
Edition: First Edition
File Size: 6 MB
File Type: Djvu
Language: English

Description of Introduction to Space Physics

THE IONIZED OASES of the solar-terrestrial environment interact in very complex and sometimes counterintuitive ways. Our intuition about gases is trained in situations in which collisions are important, but in most of the ionized gases in the solar system, the magnetic and electric fields control the motion of the particles, with collisions and gravitational fields being less important. In an introductory text such as this, it is difficult to decide where to begin to discuss these interactions. 
One could start with the simplest systems and then add complexity, one could order the material by spatial location, discussing the sun first and then proceeding to follow the energy flow outward past all the planets; or one could follow a chronological approach, according to the order of discovery. There is much to justify a spatial approach, because the sun is the energy source for most of the plasma we encounter, either through coupling with the solid wind or through photoionization. 
On the other hand, the chronological approach follows the way scientists originally learned about how the solar-terrestrial environment behaves. This 013- pro ac h has the advantage that the earliest concepts were simple and grew gradually in complexity, but it has the disadvantage that some of the early ideas were wrong and that sometimes science progresses in convoluted ways. Thus, this approach can be quite inefficient. The Introduction to Space Physics book, we shall attempt to combine those approaches. 
We shall try always to reduce topics to their basics before introducing the complications. The overall ordering of the book will follow the energy flow, starting with the sun, but first, Chapter I will provide some historical perspective. The historical approach is interesting, and it allows us a quick overview of the entire field before becoming too involved with the details.
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