Minimagnetospheres above the lunar surface and the formation of lunar swirls

R. A. Bamford, B. Kellett, W. J. Bradford, C. Norberg, A. Thornton, K. J. Gibson, I. A. Crawford, L. Silva, L. Gargate, R. Bingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number081101
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2012


  • lunar surface
  • lunar swirls
  • minimagnetospheres


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