Kinetic theory for the ion humps at the foot of the Earth's bow shock
Publication date: 06 October 2009
Authors: Jovanovic, D. and Krasnoselskikh, V.V.
Journal: Phys. Plasmas
Copyright: American Institute of Physics
The nonlinear kinetic theory is presented for the ion acoustic perturbations at the foot of the Earth's quasiperpendicular bow shock, that is characterized by weakly magnetized electrons and unmagnetized ions. The streaming ions, due to the reflection of the solar wind ions from the shock, provide the free energy source for the linear instability of the acoustic wave. In the fully nonlinear regime, a coherent localized solution is found in the form of a stationary ion hump, which is traveling with the velocity close to the phase velocity of the linear mode. The structure is supported by the nonlinearities coming from the increased population of the resonant beam ions, trapped in the self-consistent potential. As their size in the direction perpendicular to the local magnetic field is somewhat smaller that the electron Larmor radius and much larger that the Debye length, their spatial properties are determined by the effects of the magnetic field on weakly magnetized electrons. These coherent structures provide a theoretical explanation for the bipolar electric pulses, observed upstream of the shock by Polar and Cluster satellite missions.Link to publication