Energy Conversion within Current Sheets in the Earth's Quasi-parallel
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.