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James Crumley, Physics


Solitary waves occur in many mediums, both on Earth and in space. These waves are a single isolated wavelength or half wavelength of a full wave. This research focuses on observing these waves at the Earth’s magnetopause, the region around Earth where the Earth’s magnetic field controls the motion of particles. This research applies a Gaussian function to model solitary waves in Mathematica, utilizing electric potential data gathered by NASA’s Polar spacecraft. The code is able to loop through the data set, finding fit parameters for the function for each wave. It can also loop through the entirety of our data set, 183 separate waves observed by Polar. With more refinement, we hope to obtain confidence levels for the value being given in the fit, which will help us make the model more accurate. This research is ongoing, with the ultimate goal being to fit the large number of events we have and to obtain a distribution of wave sizes and other parameters in order to allow us to infer what geometric shape the solitary wave may have had.

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