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  1. Solar Wind Origin - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Physics
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  3. Handbook On Solar Wind:Effects,Dynamics,Interactions{BBS}

SOIR uses stellar occultation techniques and a spectrometer with range 2. Scientific objectives cover meteorology of the middle atmosphere, surface mineralogy, aeronomy of the upper atmosphere and a dynamical study of the Venusian atmosphere. VMC is a wide-angle multi-channel camera that will take images of the planet in the near infrared, ultraviolet and visible wavelengths. VMC will make global images and will study the cloud dynamics and image the surface.

The roughness and electrical properties of the surface and the solar wind will also be studied. ESA uses cookies to track visits to our website only, no personal information is collected. Specific questions regarding modulation are: What determines the temporal characteristics of reconnection? Does reconnection spontaneously create bubbles of magnetic field periodically? Or are these bubbles due to changing inflow conditions? How do changes in boundary conditions modify reconnection?

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How does shear flow affect the occurrence and efficiency of reconnection? How do different asymmetric inflow or outflow conditions affect the structure and dynamics of reconnection? How do multiple ion species affect reconnection? How does inflowing turbulence modulate magnetic reconnection? Finally, the third frontier in reconnection physics is understanding its behavior in more realistic geometries. Current understanding of magnetic reconnection is limited primarily to a simplistic two-dimensional picture where magnetic field lines break at simple lines called x-lines.

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However, the solar wind flow around the tear-drop-shaped magnetosphere can break these simple x-lines into points called null points joined by magnetic separator lines. Does magnetic reconnection happen primarily at null points or separator lines? How fast does reconnection happen in these more complex three-dimensional geometries?

The questions outlined above, while specifically addressing decadal survey key science goal 4, also contribute to decadal survey key science goal 2. Three major outstanding questions about the nature of the turbulence focus on its dynamics What is the nature of the turbulent fluctuations and how do they interact to transfer energy? Three outstanding questions about the impacts deal with three universal properties.

It is not known whether turbulence affects transport and entropy conservation, and it is not known whether turbulence leads to reconnection events in the magnetotail or alters large-scale dynamics there. The magnetosheath flow around the magnetosphere is also turbulent, and the same three questions about the nature of the turbulence apply: dynamics, driving, and dissipation. There is an additional question for the turbulent magnetosheath flow: Is eddy viscosity important for the coupling of the flow to the magnetosphere?

The turbulence inside and around the magnetosphere has potential impact on the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its response to solar input decadal survey key science goal 2. Turbulence in both the magnetosheath and the magnetotail provides unique opportunities to discover and characterize fundamental processes that occur here and throughout the universe decadal survey key science goal 4.

Wave-particle interactions are ubiquitous in the magnetosphere. Waves clearly play an important role in both energization and loss of ring current and radiation belt particles, but it is necessary to establish which WPIs are most effective.

Solar Wind Origin - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Physics

In the inner magnetosphere, current knowledge is limited to the statistical distributions of waves, and so moving forward will require a better characterization of the spatial-temporal structure of the waves and how they are produced. Researchers must understand how wave production is modulated by macroscale plasma properties and how high-frequency waves are modulated by lower-frequency, large-scale fluctuations. They must determine how particle populations are modified by wave-particle interactions and understand how that feeds back on wave generation.

Finally, a better understanding is needed of the importance and detailed physics of nonlinear interactions with the large-amplitude waves that are observed.

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The instabilities that occur in our solar system are expected to also occur throughout the universe, affecting particle populations in many different environments. Advancing understanding of the waves and their interaction with particles at Earth thus enables decadal survey key science goal 4. Moreover, determining the roles played by waves in energization and loss of magnetospheric particles will be necessary for advancing understanding to the point of predictive capability for the near-Earth environment, enabling decadal survey key science goals 1 and 2.

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Serendipitous multipoint measurements by the Heliophysics Systems Observatory plus the global perspective from the IMAGE and TWINS missions have provided a greater appreciation for the degree to which the various regions and processes interact. Still, researchers have only a rudimentary understanding of how all the pieces fit together to determine the global magnetospheric response to solar wind variability. In particular, we lack a full understanding of how nonlinear feedback between the ionosphere and magnetosphere regulates magnetospheric dynamics.

This motivates SWMI science goal 7. In previous studies of the magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere system, signs of nonlinear feedback were observed, and that the coupling affects the global transport of plasma is known. This nonlinear coupling involves both electrodynamic communication and mass exchange between these regions, but what controls the nonlinearities is not known.


At a fundamental level, the mapping between a location. Since strong and variable currents significantly distort the magnetospheric magnetic field by different amounts under different conditions, determining this mapping is a challenging but important problem. There are numerous examples of how magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling plays out in the system-level response, both through electrodynamics and through mass coupling. On the electrodynamic side, the strength of the convective motion in the ionosphere saturates for high levels of solar wind driving.

Handbook On Solar Wind:Effects,Dynamics,Interactions{BBS}

The exact physical mechanisms for this saturation effect remain unclear, but ionospheric conductance certainly plays a key role. As another example, the electrodynamic coupling with the magnetosphere extends down into the thermosphere, where the ionospheric convection can drive neutral-particle motions that in turn influence ionospheric drifts after the solar wind driving is reduced. These plasma drifts then are communicated back into the magnetosphere, where they affect the shape and evolution of the plasmasphere.

Because the plasmasphere dominates the inner magnetospheric mass content and therefore the plasma wave properties, the location of the plasmaspheric edge dramatically influences the acceleration and loss processes of the ring current and radiation belts. Furthermore, it has been shown that strong field-aligned currents closing the partial ring current near the plasmasphere boundary can lead to the formation of SAPS, which have significant impacts throughout the system, including disturbances that propagate in the thermosphere down to equatorial latitudes.

On the mass coupling side, it is known that ionospheric plasma is a vital component of the magnetosphere. Observations have shown that the ionosphere can be a dominant mass source for the energetic ring current during magnetospheric storms. Theoretical results indicate that this plasma will alter the wave processes as well as the rates of magnetic reconnection. How this plays out in the macroscopic evolution of the system, and whether it helps determine the global mode of magnetospheric behavior, are not fully understood. Understanding the dynamic behavior of the coupled system is central to completing decadal survey key science goal 2 and undergirds the ability to make quantitative predictions about the space environment, making this goal also relevant to decadal survey key science goal 1.

Furthermore, understanding system-level dynamics will help advance knowledge of the fundamental processes that couple the regions of geospace, providing a connection to decadal survey key science goal 4 as well. Fifty years of robotic exploration of the solar system have led to flybys of all the major planets and orbital insertion around all but Uranus and Neptune.

Even for Jupiter and Saturn, fundamental magnetospheric questions remain unanswered, including the degree of solar wind influence on the structure and dynamics. For the other planets, especially the outer ice giants, nothing is known about the dynamics or variability. A comprehensive understanding of magnetospheric physics requires measurements from a complete suite of magnetospheric instruments from satellites in orbit around other planets, ideally with.

In recognition of the relatively immature current understanding of other planetary magnetospheres, the corresponding critical science goal for the coming decade is SWMI science goal 8. Six planets in our solar system have strong internal magnetic fields and associated magnetospheres: Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. At Earth the main plasma sources are solar wind capture and ionization of the upper atmosphere, and magnetospheric dynamics are driven largely by interactions with the solar wind.

In other planetary magnetospheres there is considerable variety in both plasma sources and drivers. Giant-planet magnetospheres such as those of Jupiter and Saturn have dramatically different plasma sources and dynamics. The rapidly rotating planetary magnetic fields pick up and accelerate new plasma to form dense, spinning plasma disks whose outer edges are flung outward by centrifugal force and replaced by hotter, more tenuous bubbles of plasma that are drawn inward to fill the void. In these rotationally dominated giant magnetospheres, major, fundamental mysteries remain concerning time-variable magnetospheric rotation rates, poorly understood periodicities, plasma transport, and magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling.

Similar effects are expected to occur at Uranus and Neptune, although currently very little is known about the internal structure of the magnetospheres of these planets because of the limited data from the Voyager 2 flybys. Though their small icy moons are not believed to be primary plasma sources, thorough exploration of these magnetospheres will undoubtedly yield major new discoveries.

These large tilts are believed to cause enormous rotationally induced variations and create complicated and unusually dynamic internal plasma structures— which may change profoundly in less than 1 planetary day. So far, the only existing measurements near these planets, from the single flyby of Voyager 2, were too limited to adequately resolve these complex rotational variations. The space environments of other planets offer natural laboratories for exploration of a wider range of structures and dynamic linkages than are found at Earth.