loading page

Energy Conversion within Current Sheets in the Earth's Quasi-parallel Magnetosheath
  • +5
  • Steven J. Schwartz,
  • Harald Kucharek,
  • Charles J Farrugia,
  • Karlheinz Trattner,
  • Imogen Gingell,
  • Robert E Ergun,
  • Robert J. Strangeway,
  • Daniel J Gershman
Steven J. Schwartz
University of Colorado Boulder

Corresponding Author:steven.schwartz@lasp.colorado.edu

Author Profile
Harald Kucharek
University of New Hampshire, USA
Author Profile
Charles J Farrugia
University of New Hampshire, USA
Author Profile
Karlheinz Trattner
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile
Imogen Gingell
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton
Author Profile
Robert E Ergun
Univeristy of Colorado
Author Profile
Robert J. Strangeway
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Daniel J Gershman
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Author Profile


Shock waves in collisionless plasmas rely on kinetic processes to convert the primary incident bulk flow energy into thermal energy. That conversion is initiated within a thin transition layer but may continue well into the downstream region. At the Earth’s bow shock, the region downstream of shock locations where the interplanetary magnetic field is nearly parallel to the shock normal is highly turbulent. We study the distribution of thin current events in this magnetosheath. Quantification of the energy dissipation rate made by the MMS spacecraft shows that these isolated intense currents are distributed uniformly throughout the magnetosheath and convert a significant fraction (5%-11%) of the energy flux incident at the bow shock.
28 Feb 2021Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 48 issue 4. 10.1029/2020GL091859