• Observations and generation mechanisms of slow-mode waves in the magnetosheath

      Yan, Ming; Lee, Lou; Craven, John; Hawkins, Joseph; Sentman, Dave; Watkins, Brenton (1995)
      The interaction of solar wind with the geomagnetic field leads to the formation of the bow shock, magnetosheath, and magnetopause. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) slow-mode structures with a plasma density enhancement and magnetic field depression have been observed to appear frequently in the inner magnetosheath. In addition, the slow-mode structures usually consist of slow-mode waves with a smaller length scale. These slow-mode structures and waves are studied in this thesis through satellite observations and numerical simulations. We find, through satellite observations, that some of the slow-mode structures are associated with Alfven waves in the solar wind. On the other hand, simulations show that slow-mode waves are generated through the interactions between the bow shock and interplanetary shocks, magnetosonic waves, rotational discontinuities, or Alfven waves. The generated slow-mode waves stay in the inner magnetosheath for a long time (about 15 minutes) before the wave energy is convected away tailward. Of particular importance are the interactions between the bow shock and interplanetary rotational discontinuities or Alfven waves. These interactions generate a region with an enhanced plasma density and depressed magnetic field, which is very similar to the slow-mode structures observed in the inner magnetosheath. Based on observations and simulations, it is suggested that the interactions of various types of solar wind fluctuations with the bow shock may lead to the frequent appearance of slow-mode structures and waves in the inner magnetosheath. The generated slow-mode structures have strong pressure variations, and may impinge on the magnetopause as strong pressure pulses.