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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 24 Jul 2019

Submitted as: regular paper | 24 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

On the alignment of velocity and magnetic fields within magnetosheath jets

Ferdinand Plaschke1, Maria Jernej1, Heli Hietala2,3, and Laura Vuorinen2 Ferdinand Plaschke et al.
  • 1Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  • 3Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA

Abstract. Jets in the subsolar magnetosheath are localized enhancements in dynamic pressure that are able to propagate all the way from the bow shock to the magnetopause. Due to their excess velocity with respect to their environment, they push slower ambient plasma out of their way, creating a vortical plasma motion in and around them. Simulations and case study results suggest that jets also modify the magnetic field in the magnetosheath on their passage, aligning it more with their velocity. Based on MMS jet observations and corresponding superposed epoch analyses of the angles φ between the velocity and magnetic fields, we can confirm that this suggestion is correct. However, the effect is small: Typically, reductions in φ of only 10° are observed at jet core regions, where the jets' velocities are largest. Furthermore, time series of angles φ pertaining to individual jets significantly deviate from the superposed epoch analysis results. They usually exhibit large variations over the entire range of φ: 0° to 90°. This variability is commonly somewhat larger within jets than outside, masking the systematic decrease in φ at core regions of individual jets.

Ferdinand Plaschke et al.
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Ferdinand Plaschke et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Jets of solar wind plasma commonly hit the Earth's magnetosphere. Using data from the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft, we show statistically that within jets the magnetic field is more aligned with the plasma flow direction than outside of these jets. Our study confirms prior simulation results, but also shows that the average effect is moderate. The jets' magnetic field is important with respect to their impact on space weather.
Jets of solar wind plasma commonly hit the Earth's magnetosphere. Using data from the four...