Articles | Volume 29, issue 5
02 May 2011
 | 02 May 2011

Occurrence rate of magnetic holes between 0.72 and 1 AU: comparative study of Cluster and VEX data

O. A. Amariutei, S. N. Walker, and T. L. Zhang

Abstract. Localised depressions in the magnetic field magnitude, or magnetic holes, are common features in many regions of solar system plasma. Two distinct mechanisms for their generation have been proposed. The first proposed that the structures are generated locally, close to the point of observation. The alternative has been proposed by Russell et al. (2008), who suggest that the observed magnetic holes represent nonlinear mirror structures that can be carried by the solar wind over vast distances of mirror stable plasma. According to Russell et al. (2008), magnetic holes are created in the vicinity of the sun and are convected by the solar wind outward. Periods of Cluster 1 and VEX data when both spacecraft were connected by the solar wind flow have been considered in this study, in order to determine the evolution of the magnetic holes occurrence rate. The comparison of the magnetic holes occurrence near the Venus and the Earth supports the Russell et al. (2008) premise that they are generated closer to the Sun most likely somewhere within the orbit of Mercury.