A numerical model simulation of the magnetosphere (the large bubble around the Earth caused by the Earth's magnetic field that protects Earth from solar wind) showing the hurricane activity during what should have been a very quiet solar wind period. The image is looking down on the North Pole of the Earth with the Sun off to the right, dawn to the bottom and dusk to the top. The colours show the field aligned currents that bring the momentum from the solar wind down into the ionosphere and they show the spiral arms that are so like an atmospheric hurricane. The vectors are flow of plasma in the magnetosphere.
Credit: State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, Center for Space Science and Applied Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China