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Tracking the Subsolar Bow Shock and Magnetopause
  • David Gary Sibeck,
  • Marcos Dias Silveira,
  • Michael R Collier
David Gary Sibeck

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Marcos Dias Silveira
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Michael R Collier
NASA Goddard SFC
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Global magnetohydrodynamic models predict that plasma velocities vary almost linearly from 0 km s-1 along the stagnation streamline leading from the nose of the stationary magnetopause to 0.25 VSW at the nose of the bow shock, where VSW is the solar wind velocity. This paper presents a proof-of-concept study showing how two-point measurements of the plasma velocity in the subsolar magnetosheath can be used to determine gradients in the plasma velocity and consequently the steady-state or slowly-moving locations of both the nose of the magnetopause and the nose of the bow shock. The results may be of use to those binning magnetosheath observations to develop empirical models, those testing models for magnetopause erosion or deposition in response to magnetic reconnection, and those determining the stand-off distance of the bow shock as a function of solar wind conditions.