Robert B. Sheldon, Sudhir Pandkar and Eric Reynolds
February 7, 2002
Physics Dept., The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899
Physics Dept., West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
The UAH Spinning Terrella Experiment demonstrates several new phenomena that occur in a glow discharge plasma around a highly inhomogeneous dipole magnetic field. 1) Both a negative DC bias and spinning the magnet generate a potential well that stably traps ions at the equator in a ring reminiscent of Saturn's rings. 2) This indicates that space charge can be stored in the dipole field of such device, amounting to several hundred nF of capacitance, and several hundred volts along a magnetic field line. 3) When the dipole capacitor explosively discharges, field-aligned loops form that are suggestive of terrestrial, solar and astrophysical observations Sheldon and Spurrier . Therefore we propose that space charge may be a more ubiquitous feature of plasmas trapped in inhomogeneous magnetic fields than is presently suspected.