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Monte Carlo simulations of electron acceleration at bow waves driven by fast jets in the Earth’s magnetosheath

  • Vuorinen, L
  • Vainio, R
  • Hietala, H
  • Liu, TZ
Publication Date
Jul 03, 2022
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
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The shocked solar wind flows around the Earth’s magnetosphere in the magnetosheath downstream of the Earth’s bow shock. Within this region, faster flows of plasma, called magnetosheath jets, are frequently observed. These jets have been shown to sometimes exhibit supermagnetosonic speeds relative to the magnetosheath flow and to develop bow waves or shocks of their own. Such jet-driven bow waves have been observed to accelerate ions and electrons. We model electron acceleration by magnetosheath jet-driven bow waves using test-particle Monte Carlo simulations. Our simulations suggest that the energy increase of electrons with energies of a few hundred eV to 10 keV can be explained by a collapsing magnetic trap forming between the bow wave and the magnetopause with shock drift acceleration at the moving bow wave. Our simulations allow us to estimate the efficiency of acceleration as a function of different jet and magnetosheath parameters. Electron acceleration by jet-driven bow waves can increase the total acceleration in the parent shock environment, most likely also at shocks other than the Earth’s bow shock.

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