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Volume 36, issue 4 | Copyright
Ann. Geophys., 36, 1073-1080, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 08 Aug 2018

Regular paper | 08 Aug 2018

Statistical survey of day-side magnetospheric current flow using Cluster observations: bow shock

Evelyn Liebert, Christian Nabert, and Karl-Heinz Glassmeier Evelyn Liebert et al.
  • Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik, Technische Universtität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

Abstract. We present the first comprehensive statistical survey of the day-side terrestrial bow shock current system based on a large number of Cluster spacecraft bow shock crossings. Calculating the 3-D current densities using fluxgate magnetometer data and the curlometer technique enables the investigation of current locations, directions, and magnitudes in dependence on arbitrary IMF orientation. In case of quasi-perpendicular shock geometries we find that the current properties are in good accordance with theory and existing simulation results. However, currents at quasi-parallel shock geometries next to the foreshock region underlie distinct variations regarding their directions.

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Short summary
At the bow shock the solar wind is slowed down in front of Earth's magnetosphere. This is accompanied by a gain in strength of the magnetic field, which implies that the bow shock carries electric currents. We present the a comprehensive statistical study of bow shock currents making use of multi-point data collected by Cluster spacecraft. We find that the currents depend on the shock geometry and the interplanetary magnetic field and are in good accordance with theory and simulation results.
At the bow shock the solar wind is slowed down in front of Earth's magnetosphere. This is...