Ion Injection At Quasi-Parallel Shocks Seen By The Cluster Spacecraft
2016 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, E-ISSN 2041-8213, Vol. 817, no 1, L4Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Collisionless shocks in space plasma are known to be capable of accelerating ions to very high energies through diffusive shock acceleration (DSA). This process requires an injection of suprathermal ions, but the mechanisms producing such a suprathermal ion seed population are still not fully understood. We study acceleration of solar wind ions resulting from reflection off short large-amplitude magnetic structures (SLAMSs) in the quasi-parallel bow shock of Earth using in situ data from the four Cluster spacecraft. Nearly specularly reflected solar wind ions are observed just upstream of a SLAMS. The reflected ions are undergoing shock drift acceleration (SDA) and obtain energies higher than the solar wind energy upstream of the SLAMS. Our test particle simulations show that solar wind ions with lower energy are more likely to be reflected off the SLAMS, while high-energy ions pass through the SLAMS, which is consistent with the observations. The process of SDA at SLAMSs can provide an effective way of accelerating solar wind ions to suprathermal energies. Therefore, this could be a mechanism of ion injection into DSA in astrophysical plasmas.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 817, no 1, L4
acceleration of particles, cosmic rays, shock waves, solar wind
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-279631DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/817/1/L4ISI: 000369370900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-279631DiVA: diva2:910001