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Asymmetric interaction of a solar wind reconnecting current sheet and its magnetic hole with Earth's bow shock and magnetosphere
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  • Hadi Madanian,
  • Terry Zixu Liu,
  • Tai-Duc Phan,
  • Karlheinz Trattner,
  • Tomas Karlsson,
  • Michael W. Liemohn
Hadi Madanian
Southwest Research Institute

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Terry Zixu Liu
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
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Tai-Duc Phan
UC Berkeley
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Karlheinz Trattner
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
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Tomas Karlsson
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
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Michael W. Liemohn
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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We report results of our analysis of a solar wind reconnecting current sheet (RCS) and its solar wind magnetic hole observed on 20 November 2018. In the solar wind, the normal vector to the current sheet plane makes an angle of 32° with the Sun-Earth line. A combination of tilted current sheet plane and foreshock effects cause an asymmetric interaction with the bow shock, such that the structure arrives at the quasi-perpendicular side of the bow shock before the quasi-parallel side. The solar wind flow slowdown and deflection during the bow shock crossing significantly disrupt the reconnection exhausts within the RCS. Unlike localized magnetosheath jets, the solar wind RCS has a global impact on the bow shock and the magnetopause. Plasma flow deflection in the magnetosheath also increases with the passage of the RCS. The magnetic field strength inside the magnetic hole decreases by ~69 percent in the solar wind, with a similar depression rate observed inside the magnetosheath due to this structure. The ion density and temperature both increase within the current sheet to form a roughly pressure balanced structure. Field rotation and change in the dynamic pressure during this event modify the reconnection zones at the magnetopause and cause an inward motion of this boundary.