The Relief of Plasma Pressure and Generation of Field-Aligned Currents in the Magnetosphere
Pavel Sedykh
DOI: 10.4236/ijaa.2011.12004   PDF    HTML     4,709 Downloads   9,233 Views   Citations


A combined action of plasma convection and pitch-angle diffusion of electrons and protons leads to the formation of plasma pressure distribution in the magnetosphere on the night side, and, as it is known, steady electric bulk currents are connected to distribution of gas pressure. The divergence of these bulk currents brings about a spatial distribution of field-aligned currents, i.e. magnetospheric sources of ionospheric current. The projection (mapping) of the plasma pressure relief onto the ionosphere corresponds to the form and position of the auroral oval. This projection, like the real oval, executes a motion with a change of the convection electric field, and expands with an enhancement of the field. Knowing the distribution (3D) of the plasma pressure we can determine the places of MHD-compressor and MHD-generators location in the magnetosphere. Unfortunately, direct observations of plasma distribution in the magnetosphere are faced with large difficulties, because pressure must be known everywhere in the plasma sheet at high resolution, which in situ satellites have been unable to provide. Modeling of distribution of plasma pressure (on ~ 3-12 Re) is very important, because the data from multisatellite magnetospheric missions for these purposes would be a very expensive project.

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P. Sedykh, "The Relief of Plasma Pressure and Generation of Field-Aligned Currents in the Magnetosphere," International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 1 No. 2, 2011, pp. 15-24. doi: 10.4236/ijaa.2011.12004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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