A major discovery to emerge from the era of spacecraft investigations of the solar system is the high degree to which planetary magnetic fields organize ionized matter. The spectacular images of planetary surfaces, atmospheres and satellites beamed to Earth by unmanned spacecraft have attracted much attention. However, the discovery of unexpected large‐scale plasma formations within the magnetospheres of the planets is equally important because the behavior of these plasmas gives us insight into the way plasmas behave on cosmological scales.

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