Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (KHI), driven by the velocity inhomogeneity at Earth’s magnetopause, has been shown to play a major role in mixing the magnetospheric and the solar wind plasma during northward periods. In fact, when the magneto-spheric and interplanetary magnetic fields are mostly perpendicular to the equatorial plane, KHI can develop at a low latitude without being significantly inhibited by the magnetic tension. In contrast, at a high latitude, the more complex magnetic configuration is believed to totally stabilize the instability. This intrinsic 3D dynamics is investigated in a simplified geometry showing that KHI is able to kink the magnetic field lines at a mid-latitude and to create current layers where magnetic reconnection spontaneously develops. It is shown that a mid-latitude reconnection is able to change the global topology of the magnetic field and to connect interplanetary field lines to the Earth’s cups, allowing the solar wind to directly enter the magnetosphere.Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (KHI), driven by the velocity inhomogeneity at Earth’s magnetopause, has been shown to play a major role in mixing the magnetospheric and the solar wind plasma during northward periods. In fact, when the magnetospheric and interplanetary magnetic fields are mostly perpendicular to the equatorial plane, KHI can develop at a low latitude without being significantly inhibited by the magnetic tension. In contrast, at a high latitude, the more complex magnetic configuration is believed to totally stabilize the instability. This intrinsic 3D dynamics is investigated in a simplified geometry showing that KHI is able to kink the magnetic field lines at a mid-latitude and to create current layers where magnetic reconnection spontaneously develops. It is shown that a mid-latitude reconnection is able to change the global topology of the magnetic field and to connect interplanetary field lines to the Earth’s cups, allowing the solar wind to directly enter the magnetosphere.

Magnetic reconnection and Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities at the Earth’s magnetopause

CALIFANO, FRANCESCO;PEGORARO, FRANCESCO;
2012

Abstract

Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (KHI), driven by the velocity inhomogeneity at Earth’s magnetopause, has been shown to play a major role in mixing the magnetospheric and the solar wind plasma during northward periods. In fact, when the magneto-spheric and interplanetary magnetic fields are mostly perpendicular to the equatorial plane, KHI can develop at a low latitude without being significantly inhibited by the magnetic tension. In contrast, at a high latitude, the more complex magnetic configuration is believed to totally stabilize the instability. This intrinsic 3D dynamics is investigated in a simplified geometry showing that KHI is able to kink the magnetic field lines at a mid-latitude and to create current layers where magnetic reconnection spontaneously develops. It is shown that a mid-latitude reconnection is able to change the global topology of the magnetic field and to connect interplanetary field lines to the Earth’s cups, allowing the solar wind to directly enter the magnetosphere.Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (KHI), driven by the velocity inhomogeneity at Earth’s magnetopause, has been shown to play a major role in mixing the magnetospheric and the solar wind plasma during northward periods. In fact, when the magnetospheric and interplanetary magnetic fields are mostly perpendicular to the equatorial plane, KHI can develop at a low latitude without being significantly inhibited by the magnetic tension. In contrast, at a high latitude, the more complex magnetic configuration is believed to totally stabilize the instability. This intrinsic 3D dynamics is investigated in a simplified geometry showing that KHI is able to kink the magnetic field lines at a mid-latitude and to create current layers where magnetic reconnection spontaneously develops. It is shown that a mid-latitude reconnection is able to change the global topology of the magnetic field and to connect interplanetary field lines to the Earth’s cups, allowing the solar wind to directly enter the magnetosphere.
Faganello, Matteo; Califano, Francesco; Pegoraro, Francesco; Andreussi, T; Benkadda, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/203475
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