Identification of higher frequency plasma waves inside a Kelvin-Helmholtz vortex responsible for plasma heating and mixing
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The magnetopause marks the boundary between the shocked solar wind and magnetospheric plasma. Understanding the dynamics of the plasma processes at the magnetopause boundary is crucial to the study of plasma transport into the magnetosphere. Previous studies have shown that there exists a temperature asymmetry in the plasma sheet. During northward IMF, the cold component ions are 30-40% hotter in the dawn flank plasma sheet compared to the dusk flank. However, the mechanisms responsible are still not entirely clear. Recent work has shown that reconnection in Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) vortices can transport plasma into the magnetosphere. Previous studies have also shown that mode conversion at the magnetopause can generate kinetic Alfvén wave activity. Both magnetic reconnection and plasma wave activity can heat plasma. For the first time we have determined from observations the dispersion relation of higher frequency waves responsible for plasma mixing and heating within a KH vortex.