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Quasi-monochromatic ULF foreshock waves as observed by the four-spacecraft Cluster mission: 1. Statistical properties

Quasi-monochromatic ULF foreshock waves as observed by the four-spacecraft Cluster mission: 1. Statistical properties

Publication date: 26 November 2005

Authors: Eastwood, J. P. et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 110
Issue: A11
Year: 2005

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

This paper presents the results of a statistical investigation into the nature of oblique wave propagation in the foreshock. Observations have shown that foreshock ULF waves tend to propagate obliquely to the background magnetic field. This is in contrast to theoretical work, which predicts that the growth rate of the mechanism responsible for the waves is maximized for parallel propagation, at least in the linear regime in homogenous plasma. Here we use data from the Cluster mission to study in detail the oblique propagation of a particular class of foreshock ULF wave, the 30 s quasi-monochromatic wave. We find that these waves persistently propagate at oblique angles to the magnetic field. Over the whole data set, the average value of thetakB was found to be 21 ± 14°. Oblique propagation is observed even when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) cone angle is small, such that the convective component of the solar wind velocity, vExB, is comparable to the wave speed. In this subset of the data, the mean value of thetakB was 12.9 ± 7.1°. In the subset of data for which the IMF cone angle exceeded 45°, the mean value of thetakB was 19.5 ± 10.7°. When the angle between the IMF and the x geocentric solar ecliptic (GSE) direction (i.e., the solar wind vector) is large, the wave k vectors tend to be confined in the plane defined by the x GSE direction and the magnetic field and a systematic deflection is observed. The dependence of thetakB on vExB is also studied.

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