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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 19, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 19, 275–287, 2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 19, 275–287, 2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Mar 2001

31 Mar 2001

Magnetic field fluctuations across the Earth’s bow shock

A. Czaykowska1, T. M. Bauer1, R. A. Treumann2,3,1, and W. Baumjohann4,1 A. Czaykowska et al.
  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany
  • 2Centre for Interdisciplinary Plasma Science, Garching, Germany
  • 3International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland
  • 4Institut für Weltraumforschung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Graz, Austria
  • Correspondence to: R. A. Treumann (

Abstract. We present a statistical analysis of 132 dayside (LT 0700-1700) bow shock crossings of the AMPTE/IRM spacecraft. We perform a superposed epoch analysis of low frequency, magnetic power spectra some minutes up-stream and downstream of the bow shock. The events are devided into categories depending on the angle θBn between bow shock normal and interplanetary magnetic field, and on plasma-β. In the foreshock upstream of the quasi-parallel bow shock, the power of the magnetic fluctuations is roughly 1 order of magnitude larger (δB ~ 4 nT for frequencies 0.01–0.04 Hz) than upstream of the quasi-perpendicular shock. There is no significant difference in the magnetic power spectra upstream and downstream of the quasi-parallel bow shock; only at the shock itself, is the magnetic power enhanced by a factor of 4. This enhancement may be due to either an amplification of convecting upstream waves or to wave generation at the shock interface. On the contrary, downstream of the quasi-perpendicular shock, the magnetic wave activity is considerably higher than upstream. Down-stream of the quasi-perpendicular low-β bow shock, we find a dominance of the left-hand polarized component at frequencies just below the ion-cyclotron frequency, with amplitudes of about 3 nT. These waves are identified as ion-cyclotron waves, which grow in a low-β regime due to the proton temperature anisotropy. We find a strong correlation of this anisotropy with the intensity of the left-hand polarized component. Downstream of some nearly perpendicular (θBn ≈ 90°) high-β crossings, mirror waves are identified. However, there are also cases where the conditions for mirror modes are met downstream of the nearly perpendicular shock, but no mirror waves are observed.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (plasma waves and turbulence) – Magnetospheric physics (magnetosheath; plasma waves and instabilities)

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