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James Crumley, Physics


Solitary waves occur in many mediums, both on Earth and in space. These are nonlinear wave modes, which appear as single isolated wavelength or half wavelength of a linear wave. This study focuses on solitary waves observed at the Earth's magnetopause, and used electric field data from NASA's Polar spacecraft, which took data in multiple regions within the magnetosphere. We developed a model in IDL for the shape of these waves, using a Gaussian function and performed statistical analysis on these waves to get a general idea of the shape of these solitary waves. The results of our model show a tight grouping of events in both width and amplitude. Events typically have a width with a value on the order of 105 and 106 1/s2, and amplitudes on the order of 10 to 100 V/m. These trends are expected, as the satellite flies through different parts of the wave depending on its direction and the solar wind conditions. These results give us a basis to analyze the shape of solitary waves in the Earth’s magnetosphere.