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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 28, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 28, 789–793, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-789-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 28, 789–793, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-789-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  16 Mar 2010

16 Mar 2010

Magnetic guide field generation in collisionless current sheets

W. Baumjohann1, R. Nakamura1, and R. A. Treumann2,* W. Baumjohann et al.
  • 1Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • 2Department of Geophysics and Environmental Sciences, Munich University, Munich, Germany
  • *present address: International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. In thin (Δ< few λi) collisionless current sheets in a space plasma like the magnetospheric tail or magnetopause current layer, magnetic fields can grow from thermal fluctuation level by the action of the non-magnetic Weibel instability (Weibel, 1959). The instability is driven by the counter-streaming electron inflow from the "ion diffusion" (ion inertial Hall) region into the inner current (electron inertial) region after thermalisation by the two-stream instability. Under magnetospheric tail conditions it takes ~50 e-folding times (~100 s) for the Weibel field to reach observable amplitudes |bW|~1 nT. In counter-streaming inflows these fields are of guide field type.

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