Space Science & Space Physics Editors' Highlights

The “Magnetic-less” Magnetotail Boundary

Most boundaries in space are governed by magnetic fields, but not far behind the Earth, where the field change across the magnetopause plays very little role in the pressure balance relationship.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics


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Space physicists like to focus on regional boundaries that are magnetized. Artemyev et al. [2017] examine a boundary where magnetic fields play only a marginal role: the far-downtail magnetopause. At distances from 50 to 200 RE downtail, they find that the pressure balance is dominated by the plasma on each side of the boundary, not the magnetic field change across the boundary. This is completely different from the dayside magnetopause, which is dominated by a magnetic field discontinuity. They find that the total energies of the ion populations inside and outside the boundary are similar, suggesting thermalization is sufficient to convert streaming magnetosheath ions into hot, rarified magnetotail ions inside the boundary.

Citation: Artemyev A.V, V. Angelopoulos, A. Runov, C.-P. Wang, and L.M. Zelenyi [2017], Properties of the equatorial magnetotail flanks 50-200RE downtail, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JA024723

 —Mike Liemohn, Editor-in-Chief, JGR: Space Physics

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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