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MMS observations of intense whistler waves within Earth's supercritical bow shock: Source mechanism and impact on shock structure and plasma transport

Abstract : The properties of whistler waves near lower‐hybrid frequencies within Earth's quasiperpendicular bow shock are examined using data from the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. These waves appear as right‐hand polarized wave packets propagating upstream obliquely to the magnetic field and shock normal with phase speeds from a few hundred up to 1600 km/s. The wavelengths are near the ion inertial length scale (λ~0.3‐1.3 λi). Detailed analysis finds characteristics consistent with the modified two‐stream instability mechanism driven by the reflected ion and electron drift. Correlations between wave and electron anisotropy variations reveal that the whistlers are affecting electron dynamics and thus their perpendicular and parallel temperatures. The electron signatures are explainable via the interaction of magnetized electrons in the whistler induced non‐monotonic magnetic fields. These waves have intense magnetic fields (δB/Bo~0.1‐1.) and carry sizable currents that are a significant fraction of the thermal current (|J/Jvte|~0.1‐0.5). The whistler induced currents and the electron anisotropies are sufficiently large to respectively excite high‐frequency (HF) electrostatic (> 100 Hz) and HF whistler waves (f~0.1‐0.5 fce). Energy dissipation J•E from whistlers at 30 Hz and below range from a few thousandths to few hundredths of μW/m3. Comparisons reveal that plasma energy is converted to wave energy in the foot, whereas wave energy gets dissipated into the plasma in the ramp, where irreversible heating occurs. These observed features are indicative of an intricate coupling between small‐scale interaction processes and larger‐scale structure transpiring within the layer. Such a characterization is only made possible now with the MMS high‐time‐resolution measurements.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 5:51:18 PM
Last modification on : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 11:34:14 AM

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A. Hull, Laurent Muschietti, O. Le Contel, J. Dorelli, P.-E. Lindqvist. MMS observations of intense whistler waves within Earth's supercritical bow shock: Source mechanism and impact on shock structure and plasma transport. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2020, 125 (7), pp.e2019JA027290. ⟨10.1029/2019JA027290⟩. ⟨insu-02571333⟩

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