Articles | Volume 32, issue 6
Regular paper
17 Jun 2014
Regular paper |  | 17 Jun 2014

Mirror mode structures near Venus and Comet P/Halley

D. Schmid, M. Volwerk, F. Plaschke, Z. Vörös, T. L. Zhang, W. Baumjohann, and Y. Narita

Abstract. In this paper, we study where mirror mode structures are generated near unmagnetized solar system bodies (Venus and comet P/Halley measured in situ by Venus Express and Giotto). To estimate the location of the mirror mode source region at Venus, we apply a turbulent diffusion model of mirror mode structures, which has already been successfully tested in planetary magnetosheaths (Earth, Jupiter, Saturn). It enables us to estimate the distance between the measured location of the mirror mode and the origin of the mirror mode structure through the mirror mode size. We find that the scenario of mirror mode excitation at the bow shock with subsequent convection and diffusion downstream to the magnetopause is valid for Venus. In the cometary case, however, we find that the size of the mirror mode structure is comparable to the gyroradius of water group ions. This suggests local production of mirror mode structures in the cometary magnetosheath, most likely through fresh ion pickup, as opposed to the convection and diffusion mechanism at Venus.