I want to try to render (computer graphics) auroras in a physical manner as realistic and realizable as possible. I'm aware that the phenomenon hasn't been completly explained yet (as far as my own research goes). But while searching for information, I've seen many different statements about how the plasma behaves when it hits the magnetosphere. So, here is how I currently understand the journey of a plasma to the earth. Maybe I'm somewhere wrong or I'm missing physics education:
- The sun emits solar winds or coronal mass ejections which are both plasmas. And although the plasma contains ions, it is in of itself not charged in any way. The plasma "blob" is neutral.
- The plasma travels pretty fast towards earth (light speed?). When it hits the bow shock, it gets slowed down.
- And a short time after it touches the magnetosphere. What will happen next depends if the plasma is a solar wind or a CME?
- CME case: The plasma has still such a high velocity that a magnetic reconnection happens. So the outer field lines of the magnetosphere are splitting at the magnetic equator and are folding upwards/downards towards the earth's poles. (I'm looking from the side of the earth. So the solar wind comes from left/right)
- Solar wind case: The ions of the plasma travel along the outer field lines of the magnetosphere in a spinning fashion. (Due to Lorentz force? Or by what influence is it possible that the electrons can travel upwards AND downwards along the field lines which are vectors that are solely pointing upwards to the earth's magnetic south pole?)
Sorry if I've butchered a weird question here. As stated above, I'm no physics student and the acquired knowledge came all from the internet, NASA-webpages and a few papers.