Kinetic simulations of solar wind plasma irregularities crossing the Hermean magnetopause
MetadataShow full item record
Context. The physical mechanisms that favor the access of solar wind plasma into the magnetosphere have not been entirely elucidated to date. Studying the transport of finite-sized magnetosheath plasma irregularities across the magnetopause is fundamentally important for characterizing the Hermean environment (of Mercury) as well as for other planetary magnetic and plasma environments. Aims. We investigate the kinetic effects and their role on the penetration and transport of localized solar wind or magnetosheath plasma irregularities within the Hermean magnetosphere under the northward orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field. Methods. We used three-dimensional (3D) particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations adapted to the interaction between plasma elements (irregularities or jets) of a finite spatial extent and the typical magnetic field of Mercury’s magnetosphere. Results. Our simulations reveal the transport of solar wind plasma across the Hermean magnetopause and entry inside the magnetosphere. The 3D plasma elements are braked and deflected in the equatorial plane. The entry process is controlled by the magnetic field gradient at the magnetopause. For reduced jumps of the magnetic field (i.e., for larger values of the interplanetary magnetic field), the magnetospheric penetration is enhanced. The equatorial dynamics of the plasma element is characterized by a dawn-dusk asymmetry generated by first-order guiding center drift effects. More plasma penetrates into the dusk flank and advances deeper inside the magnetosphere than in the dawn flank. Conclusions. The simulated solar wind or magnetosheath plasma jets can cross the Hermean magnetopause and enter into the magnetosphere, as described by the impulsive penetration mechanism.
CitationVoitcu, G.; Echim, M.; Teodorescu, E.; Munteanu, C. (2023). Kinetic simulations of solar wind plasma irregularities crossing the Hermean magnetopause. , Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 674, A228, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202346214.