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Creators/Authors contains: "Liu, Terry Z."

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  1. Abstract

    In the ion foreshock, hot flow anomalies (HFAs) and foreshock bubbles (FBs) are two types of foreshock transients that have the strongest fluctuations, which can disturb the magnetosphere‐ionosphere system and increase shock acceleration efficiency. They form due to interaction between the foreshock ions and solar wind discontinuities: the direction of the foreshock ion‐driven current and whether it decreases or increases the magnetic field strength behind the discontinuity determine whether the transient's formation can be promoted or suppressed. Thus, to predict the HFA and FB formation and forecast their space weather effects, it is necessary to predict the foreshock ion‐driven current direction. In this study, we derive analytical equations of foreshock ion velocities within discontinuities to estimate foreshock ion‐driven current direction, which provides a quantitative criterion of HFA and FB formation. To validate the criterion, we use Acceleration Reconnection Turbulence & Electrodynamics of Moon's Interaction with the Sun to observe pristine solar wind discontinuities and calculate discontinuity parameters. We use Magnetospheric Multiscale to observe the foreshock ion motion around the discontinuities and show that the data support our model. This study is another step toward a predictive model of HFA and FB formation so that we can forecast their space weather effects at Earth using solar wind observations at lunar orbit or L1.

     
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  2. Abstract

    When a solar wind discontinuity interacts with foreshock ions, foreshock transients such as hot flow anomalies and foreshock bubbles can form. These create significant dynamic pressure perturbations disturbing the bow shock, magnetopause, and magnetosphere‐ionosphere system. However, presently these phenomena are not predictable. In the accompanying paper, we derived analytical equations of foreshock ion partial gyration around a discontinuity and the resultant current density. In this study, we utilize the derived current density strength to model the energy conversion from the foreshock ions, which drives the outward motion or expansion of the solar wind plasma away from the discontinuity. We show that the model expansion speeds match those from local hybrid simulations for varying foreshock ion parameters. Using MMS, we conduct a statistical study showing that the model expansion speeds are moderately correlated with the magnetic field strength variations and the dynamic pressure decreases around discontinuities with correlation coefficients larger than 0.5. We use conjunctions between ARTEMIS and MMS to show that the model expansion speeds are typically large for those already‐formed foreshock transients. Our results show that our model can be reasonably successful in predicting significant dynamic pressure disturbances caused by foreshock ion‐discontinuity interactions. We discuss ways to improve the model in the future.

     
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Mesoscale (on the scales of a few minutes and a few R E ) magnetosheath and magnetopause perturbations driven by foreshock transients have been observed in the flank magnetotail. In this paper, we present the 3D global hybrid simulation results to show qualitatively the 3D structure of the flank magnetopause distortion caused by foreshock transients and its impacts on the tail magnetosphere and the ionosphere. Foreshock transient perturbations consist of a low-density core and high-density edge(s), thus, after they propagate into the magnetosheath, they result in magnetosheath pressure perturbations that distort magnetopause. The magnetopause is distorted locally outward (inward) in response to the dip (peak) of the magnetosheath pressure perturbations. As the magnetosheath perturbations propagate tailward, they continue to distort the flank magnetopause. This qualitative explains the transient appearance of the magnetosphere observed in the flank magnetosheath associated with foreshock transients. The 3D structure of the magnetosheath perturbations and the shape of the distorted magnetopause keep evolving as they propagate tailward. The transient distortion of the magnetopause generates compressional magnetic field perturbations within the magnetosphere. The magnetopause distortion also alters currents around the magnetopause, generating field-aligned currents (FACs) flowing in and out of the ionosphere. As the magnetopause distortion propagates tailward, it results in localized enhancements of FACs in the ionosphere that propagate anti-sunward. This qualitatively explains the observed anti-sunward propagation of the ground magnetic field perturbations associated with foreshock transients. 
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  4. Abstract

    Foreshock transients, including hot flow anomalies (HFAs) and foreshock bubbles (FBs), are frequently observed in the ion foreshock. Their significant dynamic pressure perturbations can disturb the bow shock, resulting in disturbances in the magnetosphere and ionosphere. They can also contribute to particle acceleration at their parent bow shock. These disturbances and particle acceleration caused by the foreshock transients are not yet predictable, however. In this study, we take the first step in establishing a first‐order predictive expansion speed model for FBs (which are simpler than HFAs). Starting with energy conversion from foreshock ions to solar wind ions, we derive the FB expansion speed in the FB's early formation stage and late expansion stage as a function of foreshock and solar wind parameters. We use local hybrid simulations with varying parameters to fit and improve the early stage model and 1D particle‐in‐cell simulations to test the late‐stage model. By comparing model results with Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) observations, we adjust the late‐stage model and show that it can predict the FB expansion speed. Our study provides a foundation for predictive models of foreshock transient formation and expansion, so that we can eventually forecast their space weather effects and particle acceleration at shocks.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Abstract

    Hot flow anomalies (HFAs) and foreshock bubbles (FBs) are frequently observed in Earth's foreshock, which can significantly disturb the bow shock and therefore the magnetosphere‐ionosphere system and can accelerate particles. Previous statistical studies have identified the solar wind conditions (high solar wind speed and high Mach number, etc.) that favor their generation. However, backstreaming foreshock ions are expected to most directly control how HFAs and FBs form, whereas the solar wind may partake in the formation process indirectly by determining foreshock ion properties. Using Magnetospheric Multiscale mission and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms mission, we perform a statistical study of foreshock ion properties around 275 HFAs and FBs. We show that foreshock ions with a high foreshock‐to‐solar wind density ratio (>∼3%), high kinetic energy (>∼600 eV), large ratio of kinetic energy to thermal energy (>∼0.1), and large ratio of perpendicular temperature to parallel temperature (>∼1.4) favor HFA and FB formation. We also examine how these properties are related to solar wind conditions: high solar wind speed and oblique bow shock (angle between the interplanetary magnetic field and the bow shock normal) favor high kinetic energy of foreshock ions; foreshock ions have large ratio of kinetic energy to thermal energy at large(>30°); small(<30°), high Mach number, and closeness to the bow shock favor a high foreshock‐to‐solar wind density ratio. Our results provide further understanding of HFA and FB formation.

     
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  7. null (Ed.)
  8. Abstract

    Foreshock transients can result in significant dynamic pressure perturbations downstream, causing the magnetopause to move locally outward and inward. These near‐magnetopause phenomena in turn generate magnetospheric field‐aligned currents (FACs). FACs driven by solar wind impulses are commonly found to be due to flow vortices, but it remains unclear whether the FACs driven by those localized foreshock transients are contributed by flow vortices or pressure gradients. We report on a fortuitous conjunction between the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, which was observing a foreshock transient at the flank of the bow shock, and the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission, immediately downstream of MMS, which was observing magnetopause disturbances arising from that transient. Using observations from the three THEMIS spacecraft to calculate local current density perturbations within the outward motion region of the magnetosphere, we find that flow vortices play a dominant role in generating the current there; the contribution from pressure gradients is one order of magnitude smaller. Using a global hybrid simulation that reproduces the observed foreshock transient perturbations, we traced the simulated FACs generated by the transient's interaction with the magnetopause. We find that in the outward magnetopause motion region the simulated FACs are driven by flow vortices, in agreement with THEMIS observations. Deeper inside the magnetosphere, the faster convection of bipolar flow vortices than the local magnetospheric flow leads to reversal of the simulated FACs. Our results improve our understanding of how foreshock transients disturb and energize the magnetosphere‐ionosphere system.

     
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