The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Flux ropes in the Hermean magnetotail: distribution, properties and formation

Smith, A.W., Slavin, J.A., Jackman, C.M., Poh, G.-K. and Fear, R.C. (2017) Flux ropes in the Hermean magnetotail: distribution, properties and formation Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics (doi:10.1002/2017JA024295).

Record type: Article

Abstract

An automated method was applied to identify magnetotail flux rope encounters in MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) magnetometer data. The method identified significant deflections of the north-south component of the magnetic field coincident with enhancements in the total field or dawn-dusk component. Two hundred forty-eight flux ropes are identified that possess well-defined minimum variance analysis (MVA) coordinate systems, with clear rotations of the field. Approximately 30% can be well approximated by the cylindrically symmetric, linearly force-free model. Flux ropes are most common moving planetward, in the postmidnight sector. Observations are intermittent, with the majority (61%) of plasma sheet passages yielding no flux ropes; however, the peak rate of flux ropes during a reconnection episode is ∼5 min−1. Overall, the peak postmidnight rate is ∼0.25 min−1. Only 25% of flux ropes are observed in isolation. The radius of flux ropes is comparable to the ion inertial length within Mercury's magnetotail plasma sheet. No clear statistical separation is observed between tailward and planetward moving flux ropes, suggesting the near-Mercury neutral line (NMNL) is highly variable. Flux ropes are more likely to be observed if the preceding lobe field is enhanced over background levels. A very weak correlation is observed between the flux rope core field and the preceding lobe field orientation; a stronger relationship is found with the orientation of the field within the plasma sheet. The core field strength measured is ∼6 times stronger than the local dawn-dusk plasma sheet magnetic field.

PDF Flux Ropes in the Hermean Magnetotail: Distribution, - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (1MB)
PDF Smith_et_al-2017-Journal_of_Geophysical_Research__Space_Physics - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (1MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 July 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 August 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412941
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412941
ISSN: 2169-9380
PURE UUID: e358675f-38b6-40d2-86df-3b2a2f27b8de
ORCID for A.W. Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7321-4331
ORCID for R.C. Fear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0589-7147

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 09 Aug 2017 16:31

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: A.W. Smith ORCID iD
Author: J.A. Slavin
Author: C.M. Jackman
Author: G.-K. Poh
Author: R.C. Fear ORCID iD

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×