LESIA - Observatoire de Paris

The role of the magnetic field in the interaction of the solar wind with a magnetospher

jeudi 6 novembre 2008, par Francesco Califano (Università di Pisa, Italy)

Vendredi 7 novembre 2008 à 11h00 , Lieu : salle de conférence du bât. 16

The Earth’s magnetosphere and solar wind environment is a laboratory of excellence for the study of the physics of collisionless magnetized plasmas. Here we will focus on low latitude magnetopause region and discuss the conditions leading to magnetic field reconnection in the presence of large scale Kelvin - Helmholtz vortices. The process generates magnetic islands with typical size of the order of the ion inertial length, much smaller than the MHD scale of the vortices and much larger than the electron inertial length. The process of reconnection and island formation sets up spontaneously, without any need for special boundary conditions or initial conditions, and independently of the initial in-plane magnetic field topology, whether homogeneous or sheared. These results can be of interest for the interpretation of satellite data in many regions of the terrestrial environment such as the magnetosheath or the magnetotail.


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