Simulation study of magnetic holes at the Earth's collisionless bow shock

B Eliasson, P K Shukla

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Recent observations by the Cluster and Double Star spacecraft at the Earth's bow shock have revealed localized magnetic field and density holes in the solar wind plasma. These structures are characterized by a local depletion of the magnetic field and the plasma density, and by a strong increase of the plasma temperature inside the magnetic and density cavities. Our objective here is to report results of a hybrid-Vlasov simulations of ion-Larmor-radius sized plasma density cavities with parameters that are representative of the high-beta solar wind plasma at the Earth's bow shock. We observe the asymmetric self-steepening and shock-formation of the cavity, and a strong localized temperature increase (by a factor of 5–7) of the plasma due to reflections and shock surfing of the ions against the collisionless shock. Temperature maxima are correlated with density minima, in agreement with Cluster observations. For oblique incidence of the solar wind, we observe efficient acceleration of ions along the magnetic field lines by the shock drift acceleration process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Number of pages8
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2007


  • hybrid-Vlasov simulation
  • Earth's bow shock
  • solar plasma winds
  • magnetic field
  • density holes

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