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Investigation of ~mHz ULF waves in Mercury's dayside magnetosphere and their driving mechanisms
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9164-0761
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves in the ~mHz range are frequently observed in the Mercury magnetosphere using MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) magnetic field data. The majority of these have very similar characteristics as the likely Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) driven ULF waves identified in a previous study (which are retained as a subset of the wave events studied in this paper). A large quantity of the ULF waves is observed in the dawn sector of the magnetosphere. This indicates that Mercury KH waves at the dawn side may be more common than previously predicted, and that magnetospheric ULF waves in the frequency band ~20-40 mHz can be used as a detection tool for Hermean KH waves.

Keyword [en]
ULF waves, Mercury, magnetosphere
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Research subject
Electrical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-207042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-207042DiVA: diva2:1095414
Funder
Swedish National Space Board, 122/11
Note

QCR 20170517

Available from: 2017-05-13 Created: 2017-05-13 Last updated: 2017-05-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Structures and processes in the Mercury magnetosphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Structures and processes in the Mercury magnetosphere
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The mechanisms involved in the transfer of mass and energy from the solar wind to any planetary magnetosphere is considered an important topic in space physics. With the use of the Mercury spacecraft MESSENGER's data, it has been possible to study these processes in an environment different, yet similar, to Earth's. These data have resulted in new knowledge advancing not only the extraterrestrial space plasma research, but also the general space physics field.

 

This thesis aims to investigate mechanisms for the transfer of mass and energy into Mercury’s magnetosphere, and magnetospheric regions affected by, and processes directly driven by, these. The work includes the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) at the magnetopause, which is one of the main drivers for mass and energy transfer on Earth, the low-latitude boundary layer (LLBL), which is in direct connection to the magnetopause and proposed to be affected by the KHI, magnetospheric ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves driven by the KHI, and isolated magnetic field structures in the magnetosheath as possible analogues to the Earth magnetosheath plasmoids and jets.

 

Kelvin-Helmholtz waves (KHW) and the LLBL are identified and characterized. The KHWs are observed almost exclusively on the duskside magnetopause, something that has not been observed on Earth. In contrast, the LLBL shows an opposite asymmetry. Results suggest that the KHI and LLBL are connected, possibly by the LLBL creating the asymmetry observed for the KHWs.

 

Isolated changes of the total magnetic field strength in the magnetosheath are identified. The similar properties of the solar wind and magnetosheath negative magnetic field structures suggest that they are analogues to diamagnetic plasmoids found on Earth. No clear analogues to paramagnetic plasmoids are found.  

 

Distinct magnetospheric ULF wave signatures are detected frequently in close connection to KHWs. Results from the polarization analysis on the dayside ULF waves indicate that the majority of these are most probably driven by the KHI. In general, likely KHI driven ULF waves are observed frequently in the Hermean magnetosphere. 

Although similar in many aspects, Mercury and Earth show fundamental differences in processes and structures, making Mercury a highly interesting planet to study to increase our knowledge of Earth-like planets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. 53 p.
Series
TRITA-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; 2017:029
Keyword
Mercury, MESSENGER, magnetosphere, processes, structures
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Research subject
Electrical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-207173 (URN)978-91-7729-349-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-15, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish National Space Board, 122/11
Note

QC 20170519

Available from: 2017-05-19 Created: 2017-05-18 Last updated: 2017-05-19Bibliographically approved

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