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Kinetic-scale current sheets in the solar wind at 5 AU
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  • Ivan Y Vasko,
  • Kazbek Alimov,
  • Tai-Duc Phan,
  • Forrest Mozer,
  • Anton V Artemyev
Ivan Y Vasko
University of Texas at Dallas

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Kazbek Alimov
University of California at Berkeley
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Tai-Duc Phan
UC Berkeley
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Forrest Mozer
University of California, Berkeley
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Anton V Artemyev
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We present statistical analysis of 16,903 current sheets (CS) observed over 641 days aboard Ulysses spacecraft at 5 AU. We show that the magnetic field rotates across CSs through some shear angle, while only weakly varies in magnitude. The CSs are typically asymmetric with statistically different, though only by a few percent, magnetic field magnitudes at the CS boundaries. The dataset is classified into about 90.6\% non-bifurcated and 9.4\% bifurcated CSs. Most of the CSs are proton kinetic-scale structures with the half-thickness of non-bifurcated and bifurcated CSs within respectively 200–2,000 km and 500–5,000 km or 0.5–$5\lambda_{p}$ and 0.7–$15\lambda_{p}$ in units of local proton inertial length. The amplitude of the current density, mostly parallel to magnetic field, is typically within 0.05–0.5 nA/m$^{2}$ or 0.04–$0.4J_{A}$ in units of local Alfv\’{e}n current density. The CSs demonstrate approximate scale-invariance with the shear angle and current density amplitude scaling with the half-thickness, $\Delta \theta\approx 16.6^{\circ}\;(\lambda/\lambda_{p})^{0.34}$ and $J_0/J_{A}\approx 0.14\;(\lambda/\lambda_{p})^{-0.66}$. The matching of the magnetic field rotation and compressibility observed within the CSs against those in ambient solar wind indicate that the CSs are produced by turbulence, inheriting thereby its scale-invariance and compressibility. The estimated asymmetry in plasma beta between the CS boundaries is shown to be insufficient to suppress magnetic reconnection through the diamagnetic drift of X-line, but magnetic reconnection is probably suppressed by other processes. The presented results will be of value for future comparative analysis of CSs observed at different distances from the Sun.
08 Mar 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
13 Mar 2024Published in ESS Open Archive