High-temporal-resolution measurements of electron velocity distributions, f(v'), have been obtained for many transits through the Earth's bow shock. Within all oblique shocks studied, the maximum of f(v') is offset with respect to the ion rest frame parallel to B' and directed downstream. These observations indicate that electron thermalization within the bow shock consists first of a downstream acceleration parallel to B' by the macroscopic shock electric field, followed by beam-driven plasma instabilities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)