Introduction

The combined effects of the magnetic fields of the Sun and the Earth, and the solar wind form a highly complex electromagnetic configuration that influences the propagation of the cosmic radiation as it enters the heliosphere and magnetosphere, and approaches the Earth. We have excellent knowledge of the geomagnetic field and detailed data of large portions of the magnetic field in the magnetosphere. However, both field components are superimposed and time dependent, and both can be subject to sudden and significant changes.

The interplanetary and heliospheric magnetic fields have been explored for a long time with many space probes and we have a fair understanding of the magnitude and orientation of the fields, at least in the explored regions, but the situation is complex and also time dependent. In the following we discuss very briefly the basic features of the heliospheric and the Earth's magnetospheric magnetic fields and the principal consequences that result for the cosmic radiation, including geomagnetic effects.

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