Which direction does the magnetotail go?

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spacerings

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http://store.spaceimages.com/earplastail.html<br /><br />Ok, the explanation that NASA gives on the above website for the accompanying photo is opposite what this other website says.<br />http://www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/auroras/aboutsun.html<br /><br />I would normally believe NASA but this website says that "This wind is always pushing on the Earth's magnetic field, changing its shape. You change the shape of a soap bubble in a similar way when you blow on its surface. We call this compressed field around the earth the magnetosphere. The Earth's field is compressed on the day side, where the solar wind flows over it. It is also stretched into a long tail like the wake of a ship, which is called the magnetotail, and points away from the Sun."<br /><br />2nd question - the NASA site doesn't mention why the circle in the middle is flat. I thought it was the magnetic field being flattened as described on the other site, but where the flattened part is, is not facing the sun/solar wind.<br /><br />
 
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yevaud

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The illustration of "It's a Blast" is merely an illustration, nothing more. It was trying to demonstrate how a sudden shock of Solar Wind can alter the shape of the Magnetosphere. This is called "Bow Shock."<br /><br />Bow Shock <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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