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A Survey of Venus Shock Crossings Dominated by Kinematic Relaxation
  • Simon Alexander Pope
Simon Alexander Pope
University of Sheffield

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Collisionless shocks are one of the most effective particle accelerators in the known Universe. Even low Mach number shocks could have a significant role in particle heating and acceleration. Theory suggests that kinematic collisionless relaxation, the process whereby a downstream nongyroptopic ion population becomes thermalized through collisionless gyrophase mixing, is the dominant energy redistribution mechanism in quasi-perpendicular, low Mach number and low shocks. However, there have only been a limited number of observations of these shocks using in situ measurements at Venus, Earth and in inter-planetary space. This paper presents the results of the first detailed study using in situ measurements, of the effect of fundamental parameters on the formation of these shocks. All low Mach number shocks occurring during the magnetic cloud phase of an interplanetary coronal mass ejection are identified in Venus Express magnetic field data over the duration of the mission. From the 92 shock crossings identified, 38 show clear evidence of kinematic relaxation. It is shown that kinematic relaxation is dominant at Venus when the angle between the local shock normal and upstream magnetic field is greater 50° and the Alfvén Mach number is less than 1.4. These shocks are also observed across a range of solar-zenith-angles indicating that it is likely that any location on the Venus bow shock could form such a structure. Venus Express plasma measurements are used to verify the parameters estimated from the magnetic field and indicate the importance of heavy ions, including pickup O.
Nov 2020Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics volume 125 issue 11. 10.1029/2020JA028256