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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2018-102
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 13 Sep 2018

Regular paper | 13 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Crescent-shaped electron velocity distribution functions formed at the edges of plasma jets interacting with a tangential discontinuity

Gabriel Voitcu1 and Marius Echim1,2 Gabriel Voitcu and Marius Echim
  • 1Institute of Space Science, Magurele, 077125, Romania
  • 2Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy, Brussels, 1180, Belgium

Abstract. In this paper we discuss numerical simulations that illustrate a physical mechanism leading to the formation of crescent-shaped electron velocity distribution functions at the edges of a high-speed plasma jet impacting on a thin, steep and impenetrable tangential discontinuity with no magnetic shear. We use three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations to compute the velocity distribution function of electrons in different areas of the plasma jet and at different phases of the interaction with the discontinuity. The simulation setup corresponds to an idealised, yet relevant, magnetic configuration likely to be observed at the frontside magnetopause under northward interplanetary magnetic field. The combined effect of the gradient-B drift and the remote sensing of large Larmor radius electrons leads to the formation of crescent-shaped electron velocity distribution functions. We provide examples of such distributions “measured” by a virtual satellite launched into the simulation domain.

Gabriel Voitcu and Marius Echim
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Gabriel Voitcu and Marius Echim
Gabriel Voitcu and Marius Echim
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Short summary
The frontal region of Earth's magnetic shield, the magnetopause, is very often impacted by high-speed jets of solar origin that can trigger multiple geophysical effects. Our study brings novel results that contribute to understanding the dynamics of such structures. We performed advanced simulations and demonstrate the formation of a peculiar particle distribution of the energy (the crescent-shaped electron distribution) at the edges of plasma jets interacting with the magnetopause.
The frontal region of Earth's magnetic shield, the magnetopause, is very often impacted by...
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