05 Sep 2022
05 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Solar wind magnetic holes can cross the bow shock and enter the magnetosheath

Tomas Karlsson1, Henriette Trollvik1, Savvas Raptis1, Hans Nilsson2, and Hadi Madanian3 Tomas Karlsson et al.
  • 1Division of Space and Plasma Physics, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden
  • 3Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics: Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Solar wind magnetic holes are localized depressions of the magnetic field strength, on time scales of seconds to minutes. We use Cluster multipoint measurements to identify 26 magnetic holes which are observed just upstream of the bow shock and, a short time later, downstream in the magnetosheath, thus showing that they can penetrate the bow shock and enter the magnetosheath. For two magnetic holes we show that the relation between upstream and downstream properties of the magnetic holes are well described by the MHD Rankine-Hugoniot jump conditions. We also present a small statistical investigation of the correlation between upstream and downstream observations of some properties of the magnetic holes. The temporal scale size, and magnetic field rotation across the magnetic holes are very similar for the upstream and downstream observations, while the depth of the magnetic holes varies more. The results are consistent with the interpretation that magnetic holes in Earth's and Mercury's magnetosheath are of solar wind origin, as has previously been suggested. Since the solar wind magnetic holes can enter the magnetosheath, they may also interact with the magnetopause, representing a new type of localised solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.

Tomas Karlsson et al.

Status: open (until 01 Nov 2022)

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Tomas Karlsson et al.

Tomas Karlsson et al.


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Short summary
Magnetic holes are curious localized dropouts of magnetic field strength in the solar wind (the flow of ionized gas continuously streaming out from the sun). In this paper we show that these magnetic holes can cross the bow shock (where the solar wind brake down to subsonic velocity), and enter the region close to Earth’s magnetosphere. These structures may therefore represent a new type of non-uniform solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.