Cluster observations of structures at quasi-parallel bow shocks
- 1Space and Atmospheric Physics, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London, UK
- 2CESR, BP 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
Abstract. Collisionless quasi-parallel shocks are thought to be composed of a patchwork of short, large-amplitude magnetic structures (SLAMS) which act to thermalise the plasma, giving rise to a spatially extended and time varying shock transition. With the launch of Cluster, new observations of the three-dimensional shape and size of shock structures are available. In this paper we present SLAMS observations made when the Cluster tetrahedron scale size was ~100km. The SLAMS magnetic field enhancement is typically well correlated between spacecraft on this scale, although small differences are observed. The statistical characteristics of these differences contain information on the typical gradients of magnetic field changes within the SLAM structure which, in the case studied here, occur on scales of 100-150km, comparable with the upstream ion inertial length.