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Journal Articles Space Science Reviews Year : 2013

The dynamic quasiperpendicular shock: Cluster discoveries

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Abstract

The physics of collisionless shocks is a very broad topic which has been studied for more than five decades. However, there are a number of important issues which remain unresolved. The energy repartition amongst particle populations in quasiperpendicular shocks is a multi-scale process related to the spatial and temporal structure of the electromagnetic fields within the shock layer. The most important processes take place in the close vicinity of the major magnetic transition or ramp region. The distribution of electromagnetic fields in this region determines the characteristics of ion reflection and thus defines the conditions for ion heating and energy dissipation for supercritical shocks and also the region where an important part of electron heating takes place. All of these processes are crucially dependent upon the characteristic spatial scales of the ramp and foot region provided that the shock is stationary. The earliest studies of collisionless shocks identified nonlinearity, dissipation, and dispersion as the processes that arrest the steepening of the shock transition. Their relative role determines the scales of electric and magnetic fields, and so control the characteristics of processes such as of ion reflection, electron heating and particle acceleration. The purpose of this review is to address a subset of unresolved problems in collisionless shock physics from experimental point of view making use multi-point observations onboard Cluster satellites. The problems we address are determination of scales of fields and of a scale of electron heating, identification of energy source of precursor wave train, an estimate of the role of anomalous resistivity in energy dissipation process by means of measuring short scale wave fields, and direct observation of reformation process during one single shock front crossing.
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Dates and versions

insu-01256371 , version 1 (14-01-2016)

Licence

Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives - CC BY 4.0

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V. Krasnoselskikh, M. Balikhin, S. N. Walker, S. Schwartz, D. Sundkvist, et al.. The dynamic quasiperpendicular shock: Cluster discoveries. Space Science Reviews, 2013, 178 (2-4), pp.535-598. ⟨10.1007/s11214-013-9972-y⟩. ⟨insu-01256371⟩
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