Diverse plasma populations and structures in Jupiter's magnetotail

D. J. McComas, F. Allegrini, F. Bagenal, F. Crary, R. W. Ebert, H. Elliott, A. Stern, P. Valek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Jupiter's magnetotail is the largest cohesive structure in the solar system and marks the loss of vast numbers of heavy ions from the Jupiter system. The New Horizons spacecraft traversed the magnetotail to distances exceeding 2500 jovian radii (RJ) and revealed a remarkable diversity of plasma populations and structures throughout its length. Ions evolve from a hot plasma disk distribution at ∼100 RJ to slower, persistent flows down the tail that become increasingly variable in flux and mean energy. The plasma is highly structured - exhibiting sharp breaks, smooth variations, and apparent plasmoids - and contains ions from both Io and Jupiter's ionosphere with intense bursts of H+ and H3+. Quasi-periodic changes were seen in flux at ∼450 and ∼1500 RJ with a 10-hour period. Other variations in flow speed at ∼600 to 1000 RJ with a 3- to 4-day period may be attributable to plasmoids moving down the tail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-220
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume318
Issue number5848
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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    McComas, D. J., Allegrini, F., Bagenal, F., Crary, F., Ebert, R. W., Elliott, H., Stern, A., & Valek, P. (2007). Diverse plasma populations and structures in Jupiter's magnetotail. Science, 318(5848), 217-220. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1147393