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Regular version of the site

Article

EVIDENCE FOR QUASI-ADIABATIC MOTION OF CHARGED PARTICLES IN STRONG CURRENT SHEETS IN THE SOLAR WIND

Astrophysical Journal. 2017. Vol. 834. No. 34. P. 1-9.
Malova H. V., V. Yu. Popov, Grigorenko E. E., Petrukovich A. A., Delcourt D., Sharma A. S., Khabarova O. V., Zelenyi L. M.

We investigate quasi-adiabatic dynamics of charged particles in strong current sheets (SCSs) in the solar wind, including the heliospheric current sheet (HCS), both theoretically and observationally. A self-consistent hybrid model of an SCS is developed in which ion dynamics is described at the quasi-adiabatic approximation, while the electrons are assumed to be magnetized, and their motion is described in the guiding center approximation. The model shows that the SCS profile is determined by the relative contribution of two currents: (i) the current supported by demagnetized protons that move along open quasi-adiabatic orbits, and (ii) the electron drift current. The simplest modeled SCS is found to be a multi-layered structure that consists of a thin current sheet embedded into a much thicker analog of a plasma sheet. This result is in good agreement with observations of SCSs at ∼1 au. The analysis of fine structure of different SCSs, including the HCS, shows that an SCS represents a narrow current layer (with a thickness of ∼104 km) embedded into a wider region of about 105 km, independently of the SCS origin. Therefore, multi-scale structuring is very likely an intrinsic feature of SCSs in the solar wind.