Geophysical Research Letters

Behavior of current sheets at directional magnetic discontinuities in the solar wind at 0.72 AU

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Abstract

[1] Venus Express interplanetary magnetic field measurements have been examined for magnetic “holes,” accompanied by magnetic field directional changes. We examine both the thickness of the current sheet and the depth of the magnetic field depression. We find the thickness of the current sheet is not correlated with the depth of the field depression. The depth of the magnetic holes is related to directional angle change. Since total pressure should balance across these discontinuities, there must be enhanced plasma pressure within the magnetic holes. The dependence of the depth of the hole (i.e., size of the plasma pressure enhancement) on the directional changes suggests that the heating of the plasma associated with the hole formation may be provided by annihilation of the magnetic energy in the current sheet, via slow reconnection.

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