A topological analysis of the attractor associated with the Moore–Spiegel nonlinear system is performed, following the basic idea laid down by Gilmore and Lefranc (2002, The Topology of Chaos, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ). Starting with the usual fixed point analysis and their stability, we proceed to study in detail the process of chaotic orbit extraction with the help of close return map. This is then used to construct the symbolic dynamics associated with it, which is helpful in understanding the sequential change taking place inside the attractor. In the next part, we show how to characterize the evolution of the attractor from its birth to the crisis by finding out the homoclinic orbit and the corresponding unstable manifold. In the concluding part of the paper, we show how all the pertinent information of the attractor can be encoded in the template, leading to the explicit realization of linking numbers and the relative rotation rates. In the concluding section, we have touched upon a new approach to chaotic dynamics, using the flow curvature manifold to display the relative positioning of the attractor in relation to the fixed points and the null lines.

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