Articles | Volume 28, issue 9
20 Sep 2010
 | 20 Sep 2010

Cluster-C1 observations on the geometrical structure of linear magnetic holes in the solar wind at 1 AU

T. Xiao, Q. Q. Shi, T. L. Zhang, S. Y. Fu, L. Li, Q. G. Zong, Z. Y. Pu, L. Xie, W. J. Sun, Z. X. Liu, E. Lucek, and H. Reme

Abstract. Interplanetary linear magnetic holes (LMHs) are structures in which the magnetic field magnitude decreases with little change in the field direction. They are a 10–30% subset of all interplanetary magnetic holes (MHs). Using magnetic field and plasma measurements obtained by Cluster-C1, we surveyed the LMHs in the solar wind at 1 AU. In total 567 interplanetary LMHs are identified from the magnetic field data when Cluster-C1 was in the solar wind from 2001 to 2004. We studied the relationship between the durations and the magnetic field orientations, as well as that of the scales and the field orientations of LMHs in the solar wind. It is found that the geometrical structure of the LMHs in the solar wind at 1 AU is consistent with rotational ellipsoid and the ratio of scales along and across the magnetic field is about 1.93:1. In other words, the structure is elongated along the magnetic field at 1 AU. The occurrence rate of LMHs in the solar wind at 1 AU is about 3.7 per day. It is shown that not only the occurrence rate but also the geometrical shape of interplanetary LMHs has no significant change from 0.72 AU to 1 AU in comparison with previous studies. It is thus inferred that most of interplanetary LMHs observed at 1 AU are formed and fully developed before 0.72 AU. The present results help us to study the formation mechanism of the LMHs in the solar wind.