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Structure and statistical properties of plasmoids in Jupiter's magnetotail

Structure and statistical properties of plasmoids in Jupiter's magnetotail
Structure and statistical properties of plasmoids in Jupiter's magnetotail

Plasmoids and other reconnection-related signatures have been observed in Jupiter's magnetotail through analysis of magnetic field and energetic particle data. Previous studies have established the spatial distribution and recurrence period of tail reconnection events, and identified the location of a statistical X-line separating inward and outward flow. Here we present new analysis focusing specifically on 43 plasmoid signatures observed in magnetometer data in order to establish the average properties and internal structure of Jovian plasmoids. We present statistics on the observed plasmoid length scale, duration, radial position, and local time distribution. On average, the observed plasmoids have a ∼3 RJ radial extent and ∼7min duration and result in the closure of ∼4-8 GWb of open flux from reconnection of open field lines in the postplasmoid plasma sheet. We also determine the amount of mass released and the magnetic flux closed in order to understand the role of tail reconnection in the transport of mass and flux in Jupiter's magnetosphere. The observed plasmoid properties are consistent with a mass loss rate of ∼0.7-120 kg/s and a flux closure rate of ∼7-70 GWb/d. We conclude that tail reconnection and plasmoid release is an important method of flux transport at Jupiter but likely cannot account for the mass input from Io, suggesting that additional mass loss mechanisms may be significant. Finally, we examine the plasmoid interior structure through minimum variance analysis and find that most plasmoids lack a core field and are better described by magnetic loops rather than flux ropes.

2169-9380
821-843
Vogt, Marissa F.
7a00094d-e760-44eb-bf65-4135d218932b
Jackman, Caitriona M.
9bc3456c-b254-48f1-ade0-912c5b8b4529
Slavin, James A.
18c6ffa4-123f-47db-a157-2d8865090bbd
Bunce, Emma J.
208e1177-a92f-47a6-878d-ef27ed03f811
Cowley, Stanley W.H.
e8174910-ddcd-4a23-9d7c-0e1117def06c
Kivelson, Margaret G.
5bb51ddf-773a-440a-bc46-6b003761ebf2
Khurana, Krishan K.
fdd7f0dc-99b0-4e66-a0e2-adbe022cc3dd
Vogt, Marissa F.
7a00094d-e760-44eb-bf65-4135d218932b
Jackman, Caitriona M.
9bc3456c-b254-48f1-ade0-912c5b8b4529
Slavin, James A.
18c6ffa4-123f-47db-a157-2d8865090bbd
Bunce, Emma J.
208e1177-a92f-47a6-878d-ef27ed03f811
Cowley, Stanley W.H.
e8174910-ddcd-4a23-9d7c-0e1117def06c
Kivelson, Margaret G.
5bb51ddf-773a-440a-bc46-6b003761ebf2
Khurana, Krishan K.
fdd7f0dc-99b0-4e66-a0e2-adbe022cc3dd

Vogt, Marissa F., Jackman, Caitriona M., Slavin, James A., Bunce, Emma J., Cowley, Stanley W.H., Kivelson, Margaret G. and Khurana, Krishan K. (2014) Structure and statistical properties of plasmoids in Jupiter's magnetotail. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119 (2), 821-843. (doi:10.1002/2013JA019393).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Plasmoids and other reconnection-related signatures have been observed in Jupiter's magnetotail through analysis of magnetic field and energetic particle data. Previous studies have established the spatial distribution and recurrence period of tail reconnection events, and identified the location of a statistical X-line separating inward and outward flow. Here we present new analysis focusing specifically on 43 plasmoid signatures observed in magnetometer data in order to establish the average properties and internal structure of Jovian plasmoids. We present statistics on the observed plasmoid length scale, duration, radial position, and local time distribution. On average, the observed plasmoids have a ∼3 RJ radial extent and ∼7min duration and result in the closure of ∼4-8 GWb of open flux from reconnection of open field lines in the postplasmoid plasma sheet. We also determine the amount of mass released and the magnetic flux closed in order to understand the role of tail reconnection in the transport of mass and flux in Jupiter's magnetosphere. The observed plasmoid properties are consistent with a mass loss rate of ∼0.7-120 kg/s and a flux closure rate of ∼7-70 GWb/d. We conclude that tail reconnection and plasmoid release is an important method of flux transport at Jupiter but likely cannot account for the mass input from Io, suggesting that additional mass loss mechanisms may be significant. Finally, we examine the plasmoid interior structure through minimum variance analysis and find that most plasmoids lack a core field and are better described by magnetic loops rather than flux ropes.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 13 January 2014
Published date: 1 February 2014

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436458
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436458
ISSN: 2169-9380
PURE UUID: 0cc49610-97ef-4c61-bc37-601e2d55fc51
ORCID for Caitriona M. Jackman: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0635-7361

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Date deposited: 11 Dec 2019 17:30
Last modified: 13 Dec 2019 01:31

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Contributors

Author: Marissa F. Vogt
Author: James A. Slavin
Author: Emma J. Bunce
Author: Stanley W.H. Cowley
Author: Margaret G. Kivelson
Author: Krishan K. Khurana

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