A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet's magnetosphere. It is caused by the longitudinal drift of energetic (10–200 keV) particles.
Earth's ring current
Earth's ring current is responsible for shielding the lower latitudes of the Earth from magnetospheric electric fields. It therefore has a large effect on the electrodynamics of geomagnetic storms. The ring current system consists of a band, at a distance of 3 to 8 RE, which lies in the equatorial plane and circulates clockwise around the Earth (when viewed from the north). The particles of this region produce a magnetic field in opposition to the Earth's magnetic field and so an Earthly observer would observe a decrease in the magnetic field in this area. The negative deflection of the Earth's magnetic field due to the ring current is measured by the Dst index.
The ring current energy is mainly carried around by the ions, most of which are protons. However, one also se