Orbit Picture

Drift Orbits Computer Tutorial

(Part of Problem Set #3, September 30, 1996, Due October7)

xspace is an interactive computer-based tutorial on plasma physics and space physics, written by Bryan Littlefield (bryan@igpp.ucla.edu) at the UCLA Institute for Geophysical and Planetary Physics. It has several useful modules, covering Magnetospheres, Particle Motion, Plasma Waves, Collisionless Shocks, Solar Wind, Ionosphere & Currents. While you are of course free to explore these various modules, which demonstrate the important role of plasma physics in space, here we will focus on the single-particle motion module. My hope is that the visual dynamics will help you build some intuition about the physics involved.

How to run the xspace code: The code exists on the pppl unix cluster (like carl.pppl.gov), and on the princeton SUN unix cluster (arizona.princeton.edu) This program uses X-windows graphics and so must be run on an X-terminal, but that shouldn't be hard given the many X-terminals around campus. Running the code should be as simple as using an X-terminal to log in to either the pppl unix cluster (like carl.pppl.gov) or the Princeton SUN unix cluser (like arizona.princeton.edu), and typing the command:

or, if that doesn't work, type:

[This second form avoids color map conflicts with other programs you may have running like Netscape. If this still doesn't work, try without Netscape or other major packages running simultaneously, or ask one of your classmates, or ask the grader, Phil Snyder, or ask me.]

Physics questions: You can now pull down the ``Help'' menu to learn info about each page. For your own edification, you should work through all of the sections of the ``Particle Motion'' menu, though the required Homework problem involves only the final section on Dipole Fields.

A few questions to consider as you work through the first "optional" sections on Particle Motion. These are questions which I found interesting when I worked through xspace for the first time...

The required problem to solve with xspace was distributed as part of Homework #3.

Comments to Greg Hammett.
(609) 243 2495.