On the origin of microscale magnetic holes in the solar wind

T. H. Zurbuchen, S. Hefti, L. A. Fisk, G. Gloeckler, N. A. Schwadron, C. W. Smith, N. F. Ness, R. M. Skoug, D. J. McComas, L. F. Burlaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Magnetic holes are sudden changes in the magnetic field intensity |B| from typical interplanetary values (∼10 nT) to less than 1 nT in a matter of seconds. The intensity then recovers within seconds or up to ∼30 min later. These |B| dropouts can be seen daily. Less often observed, but even more dramatic, are magnetic field depletions that last for up to several hours. We use selected periods of magnetic flux dropouts observed with various sensors of the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which has a unique combination of magnetic field, plasma, and composition experiments, to establish the origin of these peculiar objects. We conclude that these microscale magnetic holes very likely develop in the heliosphere and are not of direct solar origin. We also suggest a possible formation mechanism associated with magnetic reconnection close to the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000JA000119
Pages (from-to)16001-16010
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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