Global Single Ion Effects Within the Earth's Plasma Sheet

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. Paul L. Rothwell and
  2. G. Kenneth Yates

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0051

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

How to Cite

Rothwell, P. L. and Yates, G. K. (1984) Global Single Ion Effects Within the Earth's Plasma Sheet, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0051

Author Information

  1. Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, Bedford, Massachusetts 01731

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223

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Keywords:

  • Earth's plasma sheet;
  • Ion orbit;
  • Ion tearing mode;
  • Proton orbits;
  • Single ion motion

Summary

Two global properties of single ion motion in the magnetotail are examined. The first effect is caused by the magnetic field in the plasma sheet directing boundary ions to the neutral sheet. Exact solutions to the Lorentz equation indicate that these ions can have sufficient energy to trigger the ion tearing mode if Bo/aBz > 6.0, where Bo is the tail lobe magnetic field, Bz is the magnetic field in the north-south direction and ‘a' is a parameter related to the growth of the ion tearing instability. It is found that this effect occurs at a lower energy for oxygen than for protons. The second global property is related to the thinning or expansion of the plasma sheet. The results indicate that in the absence of reconnection the plasma sheet adiabatically maintains equilibruim by allowing plasma and magnetic flux to cross the boundaries. The presence of reconnection modifies the flow across the boundaries as well as the spatial distribution of the induced electric field.