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Journal Article

Comparison of the Flank Magnetopause at Near‐Earth and Lunar Distances: MMS and ARTEMIS Observations


Haaland,  Stein
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Lukin, A. S., Panov, E. V., Artemyev, A. V., Petrukovich, A. A., Haaland, S., Nakamura, R., et al. (2020). Comparison of the Flank Magnetopause at Near‐Earth and Lunar Distances: MMS and ARTEMIS Observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125(11): e2020JA028406. doi:10.1029/2020JA028406.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-11D0-9
One of the main sources of magnetospheric particles is solar wind penetration through the magnetopause—a current sheet separating the cold, dense magnetosheath from the hot, rarified magnetospheric plasmas. The mechanism responsible for magnetosheath particle transport across the magnetopause has been better investigated for the near‐Earth dayside magnetopause (contrary to the nightside), where it was found that such a transport is controlled by the current sheet thickness, structure, and dynamics. Because plasma properties and magnetic field intensity in the magnetosheath significantly change as a function of radial distance from the Earth, the current sheet characteristics are different near Earth and at distant nightside magnetopause. Comparative investigations between near‐Earth and distant magnetopauses, however, require statistical observations at the two locations during the same time interval, that enable control for the same upstream solar wind driving conditions. In this paper, we perform such a study using the four Magnetosheric Multiscale (MMS) and two Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun (ARTEMIS) probes to compare the characteristics of magnetic field and plasma populations during magnetopause crossings, which are separated by about 50 RE. We find that the current sheet profiles is similar at two locations. We also show that the magnetopause current sheet thickness scales with the local magnetosheath ion gyroradius. A weaker magnetic field on both sides of the current sheet is correlated with smaller current density at lunar distances.