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Global three-dimensional draping of magnetic field lines in Earth's magnetosheath from in-situ spacecraft measurements
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  • Bayane Michotte de Welle,
  • Nicolas Aunai,
  • Gautier Nguyen,
  • Benoit Lavraud,
  • Vincent Génot,
  • Alexis Jeandet,
  • Roch Smets
Bayane Michotte de Welle
Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nicolas Aunai
IRAP, Toulouse, France
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Gautier Nguyen
Direction Générale de l'Armement
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Benoit Lavraud
Laboratoire d'astrophysique de Bordeaux
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Vincent Génot
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Alexis Jeandet
Ecole polytechnique
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Roch Smets
Laboratoire de physique des plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique, UPMC, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS
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Magnetic field draping occurs when the magnetic field lines frozen in a plasma flow wrap around a body or plasma environment. The draping of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) around the Earth’s magnetosphere has been confirmed in the early days of space exploration. However, its global and three-dimensional structure is known from modeling only, mostly numerical. Here, this structure in the dayside of the Earth’s magnetosheath is determined as a function of the upstream IMF orientation purely from in-situ spacecraft observations. We show the draping structure can be organized in three regimes depending on how radial the upstream IMF is.
Quantitative analysis demonstrates how the draping pattern results from the magnetic field being frozen in the magnetosheath flow, deflected around the magnetopause. The role of the flow is emphasized by a comparison of the draping structure to that predicted to a magnetostatic draping.