Articles | Volume 27, issue 8
04 Aug 2009
 | 04 Aug 2009

Observations of plasma vortices in the vicinity of flow-braking: a case study

K. Keika, R. Nakamura, M. Volwerk, V. Angelopoulos, W. Baumjohann, A. Retinò, M. Fujimoto, J. W. Bonnell, H. J. Singer, H. U. Auster, J. P. McFadden, D. Larson, and I. Mann

Abstract. We examine fast plasma flows and magnetic field fluctuations observed by THEMIS at 03:00–03:30 UT on 12 December 2007. All THEMIS probes are situated in the near-Earth plasma sheet (XSM>−10 RE) with 1–2 RE spacecraft separations in azimuthal and radial directions. We focus on the observations of plasma convective flows made simultaneously by more than one THEMIS probe. At about 03:10 UT and 03:14 UT, the THEMIS P2 probe observed earthward flows of >100 km/s. The THEMIS P1 probe, located duskward and earthward of P2, observed tailward flows under a positive Bz. The inner most probe THEMIS P4, located at almost the same MLT as THEMIS P1 and P2, did not see any clear flow. We examine the convective flow patterns for the THEMIS observations. We conclude that plasma vortices are formed near the region where the earthward flows slow down and turn in azimuthal directions.