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Title: ION INJECTION AT QUASI-PARALLEL SHOCKS SEEN BY THE CLUSTER SPACECRAFT

Collisionless shocks in space plasma are known to be capable of accelerating ions to very high energies through diffusive shock acceleration (DSA). This process requires an injection of suprathermal ions, but the mechanisms producing such a suprathermal ion seed population are still not fully understood. We study acceleration of solar wind ions resulting from reflection off short large-amplitude magnetic structures (SLAMSs) in the quasi-parallel bow shock of Earth using in situ data from the four Cluster spacecraft. Nearly specularly reflected solar wind ions are observed just upstream of a SLAMS. The reflected ions are undergoing shock drift acceleration (SDA) and obtain energies higher than the solar wind energy upstream of the SLAMS. Our test particle simulations show that solar wind ions with lower energy are more likely to be reflected off the SLAMS, while high-energy ions pass through the SLAMS, which is consistent with the observations. The process of SDA at SLAMSs can provide an effective way of accelerating solar wind ions to suprathermal energies. Therefore, this could be a mechanism of ion injection into DSA in astrophysical plasmas.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala (Sweden)
  2. Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, CNRS/Ecole Polytechnique/UPMC, Palaiseau (France)
  3. Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518632
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 817; 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; ACCELERATION; AMPLITUDES; ASTROPHYSICS; COSMIC RADIATION; IONS; PLASMA; REFLECTION; SHOCK WAVES; SOLAR WIND; SPACE; SPACE VEHICLES; TEST PARTICLES