Articles | Volume 29, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1517–1527, 2011
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1517–1527, 2011

Regular paper 01 Sep 2011

Regular paper | 01 Sep 2011

Observations of electron vorticity in the inner plasma sheet

C. Gurgiolo1, M. L. Goldstein2, A. F. Viñas2, W. H. Matthaeus3, and A. N. Fazakerley4 C. Gurgiolo et al.
  • 1Bitterroot Basic Research, Hamilton, MT, USA
  • 2Geospace Physics Laboratory, Code 673, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3Bartol Research Foundation, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA
  • 4Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK

Abstract. From a limited number of observations it appears that vorticity is a common feature in the inner plasma sheet. With the four Cluster spacecraft and the four PEACE instruments positioned in a tetrahedral configuration, for the first time it is possible to directly estimate the electron fluid vorticity in a space plasma. We show examples of electron fluid vorticity from multiple plasma sheet crossings. These include three time periods when Cluster passed through a reconnection ion diffusion region. Enhancements in vorticity are seen in association with each crossing of the ion diffusion region.