Folding Paper Model of the Magnetosphere

Below are instructions for making a simple paper model of the magnetosphere, out of a single sheet of paper.
  Read the instructions below first, then link to an image of the model. Print the image, then fold the printout or a xerox copy of it (preferably, one copied onto thick "construction" paper) according to the instructions.

Click here to link one of two images, in black and white or in color. The black and white image can be copied in an ordinary xerox machine and can be colored by you in whichever way you prefer. However, if you have a color printer, especially one that can handle construction paper, you might want the second version. Either version is printed out lengthwise, like an ordinary sheet of text.


  1. (If the black-and-white image is used; optional.) If you wish, you can color different regions, such as: Plasma Sheet (including area marked "Plasma Convection?"), Plasma Mantle and Low Latitude Boundary Layer (use same color), Tail Lobes and Inn er Radiation Belt. The remaining area inside the magnetosphere (between plasma sheet and inner magnetosphere) can also be colored, and the region outside the magnetosphere (in the solar wind) may be left white or given a light color. You may link to the c olor image above and use it as a guide.

    Note that lines on the bottom of the model are boundary lines between regions, while lines on the long vertical section are magnetic field lines. However, those field lines that connect to boundary lines on the bottom piece also form part of the re gion boundaries.

  2. Using a straightedge, score the paper by drawing hard lines along the two main crossed lines with a ballpoint pen (preferably black) or with a stylus.

  3. Cut out the area marked "Cut Out" but leave tab intact.

  4. Crease along the scores, then fold to produce a three-sided corner with the printed picture on the inside.

  5. Use tape to attach the tab to the back side of the panel carrying the words "Tail Lobes" and "Plasma Sheet," to hold the paper in its folded position. If no tape is available, carefully cut a slot in the marked place to the right of the words "Plasma Sheet" and insert the end of the tab.

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Last updated:December 31, 1998