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Regular version of the site

Article

Current sheets in planetary magnetospheres

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. 2019. Vol. 61. P. 1-12.
Zelenyi L., Malova H., Grigorenko E., Victor Popov, Delcourt D.

In this article we aim to highlight the problems related to the structure and stability of the
comparatively thin current sheets that were relatively recently discovered by space missions in
the magnetospheres of the Earth and planets, as well as in the solar wind. These magnetoplasma
structures are universal in collisionless cosmic plasmas and can play a key role in the processes
of storage and release of energy in the space environment. The development of a self-consistent
theory for these sheets in the Earth’s magnetosphere, where they were first discovered, has a long
and dramatic history. Solution of the problem of the thin current sheet structure and stability
become possible in the framework of a kinetic quasi-adiabatic approach required to explain their
embedding and metastability properties. It was found that the structure and stability of current
structures are completely determined by the nonlinear dynamics of plasma particles. Theoretical
models have been developed to predict many properties of these structures and interpret many
experimental observations in planetary magnetospheres and the heliosphere.