Articles | Volume 27, issue 8
05 Aug 2009
 | 05 Aug 2009

Foreshock-like density cavity in the outflow region of magnetotail reconnection

C. L. Cai, I. Dandouras, H. Rème, J. B. Cao, G. C. Zhou, G. K. Parks, and D. Fontaine

Abstract. During Cluster spacecraft crossing of the magnetotail, a novel density depleted cavity in association with magnetic compressions in the outflow region of reconnection was observed. It contains intense reflected field-aligned particles, which are produced by a generation mechanism similar to that of the terrestrial foreshock, and hence manifests a foreshock-like morphology. In this cavity, reflected field-aligned proton beams were observed and simultaneously the feature of magnetic-mirror loss-cone proton distributions were found. Magnetic field fluctuations, especially quasi-monochromatic oscillations, were recorded. Both the leading egde and the ULF wave boundary of the ion foreshock are identified from the time sequence of proton and magnetic field observations. Just upstream of the leading egde of the ion foreshock, reflected field-aligned electrons were detected, whose distribution has a narrow bump-on-tail pattern. However, close to the shock front, reflected electrons with a broad bump-on-tail pattern was measured. These two different manifestations of reflected electrons reveal the differences in their microscopic physics of the reflecting process. Moreover, a part of incident ions was further accelerated in the cavity due to trans-time magnetic pumping which provides another possible mechanism in the multi-step acceleration processes in reconnection.