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Minimagnetospheres above the lunar surface and the formation of lunar swirls

Bamford, R. A. and Kellett, B. and Bradford, W. J. and Norberg, C. and Thornton, A. and Gibson, K. J. and Crawford, I. A. and Silva, L. and Gargate, L. and Bingham, R. (2012) Minimagnetospheres above the lunar surface and the formation of lunar swirls. Physical Review Letters, 109 (8). ISSN 0031-9007

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Abstract

In this paper we present in situ satellite data, theory, and laboratory validation that show how small-scale collisionless shocks and minimagnetospheres can form on the electron inertial scale length. The resulting retardation and deflection of the solar wind ions could be responsible for the unusual "lunar swirl'' patterns seen on the surface of the Moon.