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Review of Solar Wind Entry Into and Transport Within the Plasma Sheet
Space Science Reviews (2014)
  • S. Wing, Johns Hopkins University
  • J. R. Johnson, Princeton University
  • C. C. Chaston, University of California, Berkeley
  • M. Echim, Institute for Space Aeronomy
  • C. P. Escoubet, European Space Agency/European Space Research and Technology Centre
  • B. Lavraud, Universite de Toulouse
  • C. Lemon, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo
  • K. Nykyri, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • A. Otto, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • J. Raeder, University of New Hampshire, Durham
  • C.-P. Wang, University of California, Los Angeles
The plasma sheet is populated in part by the solar wind plasma. Four solar entry mechanisms are examined: (1) double cusp or double lobe reconnection, (2) Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability (KHI), (3) Kinetic Alfvén waves (KAW), and (4) Impulsive Penetration. These mechanisms can efficiently fill the plasma sheet with cold dense ions during northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The solar wind ions appear to have been heated upon entry along the plasma sheet dawn flank. The cold-component (solar wind origin) ion density is higher on the dawn flank than the dusk flank. The asymmetric evolution of the KAW and magnetic reconnection in association with the KHI at the dawn and dusk flank magnetopause may partly produce the dawn-dusk temperature and density asymmetries. Solar wind that crosses the magnetopause lowers the specific entropy (s=p/ργ) of the plasma sheet along the flanks. Subsequent transport of the cold ions from the flanks to the midnight meridian increases s by a factor of 5. Ti, Te, si, and se increase when the solar wind particles are transported across the magnetopause, but Ti/Te is roughly conserved. Within the magnetotail, E×B and curvature and gradient drifts play important roles in the plasma transport and can explain the large features seen in the plasma sheet. Turbulence can also play a significant role, particularly in the cold plasma transport from the flanks to the midnight meridian. Total entropy (S=pVγ) conservation provides important constraints on the plasma sheet transport, e.g., fast flows.
  • solar wind entry,
  • particle transport,
  • double cusp (lobe) reconnection,
  • Kelvin-Helmholtz,
  • kinetic Alfven wave (KAW),
  • entropy,
  • fast flow,
  • turbulence,
  • ion to electron temperature ratio,
  • ion outflow
Publication Date
November, 2014
Citation Information
S. Wing, J. R. Johnson, C. C. Chaston, M. Echim, et al.. "Review of Solar Wind Entry Into and Transport Within the Plasma Sheet" Space Science Reviews Vol. 184 Iss. 1/4 (2014) p. 33 - 86 ISSN: 0038-6308
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