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Three spacecraft observations of solar wind discontinuities

Horbury, T; Burgess, D; Fraenz, M; OWEN, CJ; (2001) Three spacecraft observations of solar wind discontinuities. Geophysical Research Letters , 28 (4) 677 - 680. 10.1029/2000GL000121. Green open access

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Abstract

Observations of solar wind magnetic field discontinuities using 3 spacecraft allow their orientations to be estimated. During 5 days when Geotail, Wind and IMP 8 were between 6 × 104 and 4 × 105 km apart, 35 events identified using the Tsurutani‐Smith method were detected in all 3 magnetic field data sets. Normals estimated from inter‐spacecraft timings showed that very few were unambiguous rotational discontinuities, with 77% likely to be tangential, with < 20% of the magnetic field at the discontinuity threading the normal plane. However, previous single spacecraft studies using minimum variance suggest that most discontinuities are rotational. Minimum variance analysis resulted in many normal estimates lying far from the timing‐derived normals. While some of this discrepancy is likely to be due to random errors in minimum variance vectors, there appears to be a class of events with small field magnitude changes where the minimum variance directions and discontinuity normals are approximately perpendicular, probably due to surface waves on the discontinuities.

Type: Article
Title: Three spacecraft observations of solar wind discontinuities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2000GL000121
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2000GL000121
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords: Discontinuity, Observation, Wind
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/153166
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