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Title: TURBULENCE-GENERATED PROTON-SCALE STRUCTURES IN THE TERRESTRIAL MAGNETOSHEATH

Recent results of numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations suggest that in collisionless space plasmas, turbulence can spontaneously generate thin current sheets. These coherent structures can partially explain the intermittency and the non-homogenous distribution of localized plasma heating in turbulence. In this Letter, Cluster multi-point observations are used to investigate the distribution of magnetic field discontinuities and the associated small-scale current sheets in the terrestrial magnetosheath downstream of a quasi-parallel bow shock. It is shown experimentally, for the first time, that the strongest turbulence-generated current sheets occupy the long tails of probability distribution functions associated with extremal values of magnetic field partial derivatives. During the analyzed one-hour time interval, about a hundred strong discontinuities, possibly proton-scale current sheets, were observed.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz (Austria)
  2. Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala (Sweden)
  3. Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Bruxelles (Belgium)
  4. INAF-Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Roma (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518602
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 819; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COSMIC PROTONS; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOSHEATH; PLASMA; PLASMA HEATING; PLASMA SHEET; PROBABILITY; SHOCK WAVES; SPACE; TURBULENCE