Magnetopause displacements: the possible role of dust
Abstract. Large compressions of the magnetopause are proposed to occasionally result from temporary encounters of the magnetosphere with dust streams in interplanetary space. Such streams may have their origin in cometary dust tails or asteroids which cross the inner heliosphere or in meteoroids in Earth's vicinity. Dust ejected from such objects when embedding the magnetosphere for their limited transition time should cause substantial global deformations of the magnetopause/magnetosphere due to the very large dust grain mass and momentum which compensates for the low dust density when contributing to the upstream pressure variation.