Magnetic Reconnection Controls Impacts of Solar Wind Ions at Mercury's Surface : Investigation By Global Hybrid Simulations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Gerard Marcel Chanteur, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau Cedex, France, Ronan Modolo, UVSQ / LATMOS-IPSL/CNRS-INSU, Guyancourt, France and Francois Leblanc, LATMOS Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales, Paris Cedex 05, France
MESSENGER has revealed the complexity of the Hermean magnetic field which is dominated by dipolar and quadrupolar components (Anderson et al., 2012 and references therein). By contrast to other magnetized planets having large scale dynamo driven magnetic fields Mercury has a quadrupolar field large enough to reinforce the dipolar field at high northern latitudes and to shape the topology of the planetary field in the equatorial region and the southern hemisphere. Magnetic reconnection at Mercury is extremely effective for all IMF orientations [DiBraccio et al., JGR, 2013]. Global hybrid simulations by Richer et al. (2012) have demonstrated the dramatic influence of the quadrupolar field of Mercury on the topology of the Hermean magnetosphere. Then Chanteur et al. (AOGS 2014) have investigated the impacts of solar wind protons and alphas on Mercury’s surface with the same hybrid code and have presented a case study to demonstrate the importance of magnetic reconnection between the IMF and the planetary field in this process. We will present a set of different results corresponding to different configurations depending upon the IMF orientation and solar wind parameters.


Anderson, B. J., C. L. Johnson, H. Korth, R. M. Winslow, J. E. Borovsky, M. E. Purucker, J. A. Slavin, S. C. Solomon, M. T. Zuber, and R. L. McNutt Jr. (2012), Low-degree structure in Mercury’s planetary magnetic field, J. Geophys. Res., 117, E00L12, doi:10.1029/2012JE004159.

DiBraccio, G. A., J. A. Slavin, S. A. Boardsen, B. J. Anderson, H. Korth, T. H. Zurbuchen, J. M. Raines, D. N. Baker, R. L. McNutt Jr., and S. C. Solomon (2013), MESSENGER observations of magnetopause structure and dynamics at Mercury, J. Geophys. Res. Space Phys., 118, 997–1008, doi:10.1002/jgra50123.

Richer, E., R. Modolo, G. M. Chanteur, S. Hess, and F. Leblanc (2012), A global hybrid model for Mercury’s interaction with the solar wind: Case study of the dipole representation, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A10228, doi:10.1029/2012JA017898.

Chanteur, G.M., R. Modolo, and F. Leblanc (2014), Effect of the Hermean Magnetic quadrupole on Magnetic Reconnection and Penetration of the SW Plasma Inside the Magnetosphere, AOGS, 11th annual meeting, Sapporo, Japan, July 28th – August 1st.