Volume 107, Number 1, July 2014
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Geophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics|
|Published online||08 July 2014|
Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices and double mid-latitude reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause: Comparison between observations and simulations
1 International Institute for Fusion Science/PIIM, UMR 7345 CNRS Aix-Marseille University - Marseille, France
2 Physics Department, University of Pisa - Pisa, Italy
3 LPP, CNRS/Ecole Polytechnique/UPMC/Paris-Sud 11 - Palaiseau, France
Received: 29 January 2014
Accepted: 19 June 2014
Observational signatures of Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) vortices and of double mid-latitude reconnection are highlighted in satellite data of the THEMIS mission. It is shown that the plasma fluid quantities at the low-latitude flank of the Earth's magnetosphere are compatible with K-H vortices, as described by three-dimensional simulations. At the same time it is shown that the particle fluxes are compatible with the presence of magnetic-field lines, embedded in the K-H vortices, that close on Earth but are connected to the solar wind at low latitude. These field lines are generated during the K-H evolution by magnetic reconnection proceeding spontaneously in both hemispheres at mid-latitudes, allowing the solar-wind plasma to enter the Earth's magnetosphere directly.
PACS: 94.30.cp – Magnetic reconnection / 52.35.Mw – Nonlinear phenomena: waves, wave propagation, and other interactions (including parametric effects, mode coupling, ponderomotive effects, etc.) / 52.65.Kj – Magnetohydrodynamic and fluid equation
© EPLA, 2014
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