Earth’s magnetosphere has a banana current, they say

Comes news of a banana current above us:

Co-author Katus
Co-author Katus

The Magnetospheric Banana Current,” Michael W. Liemohn, Natalia Yu Ganushkina, Roxanne M. Katus, Darren L. De Zeeuw, Daniel T. Welling, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, epub February 15, 2013. The authors, at the University of Michigan, reports:

“It is shown that the banana current, a current system in the inner magnetosphere closing entirely within the magnetosphere (i.e., not through the ionosphere or on the magnetopause) but not circumflowing around the Earth, is a regular feature of near-Earth space. Closure options for the eastward asymmetric current on the inside of a localized pressure peak were explored, with the conclusion that the current must close via westward current around the outside of the high pressure region. It is a current that encircles a pressure peak and, therefore, whenever there is a pressure peak in the inner magnetosphere, a banana current exists. If multiple pressure peaks exist in the inner magnetosphere, then multiple banana currents will also coexist.”

(Thanks investigator Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (unrelated): Gluten free banana current muffins

BONUS (unrelated): Banana current weather