EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Thin current sheets as key structures in space plasma

Helmi Malova1,2, Lev Zelenyi2,3, Victor Popov2,4,5, and Elena Grigorenko2,3,5
Helmi Malova et al.
  • 1Moscow State University, Scobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Space Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation (
  • 2Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
  • 3Department of Space Physics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia
  • 4Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  • 5National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

Plasma structures with extremely small transverse size (named thin current sheets or TCSs) have been discovered and investigated by spacecraft observations in the Earth's magnetotail, then in other planetary magnetospheres and the solar wind. Their formation is related with complicated dynamic processes in collisionless space plasma near the magnetic reconnection regions. The proposed models describing TCSs in space plasma, based on the assumption of a quasi-adiabatic proton dynamics and magnetized electrons were successful. Various modifications of the initial equilibrium allowed describing such current sheets as the system of current sheets where the central sheet is supported by magnetized electron drifts, and the external sheets are supported by quasi-adiabatic protons and sometimes oxygen ions. Such current configurations are shown to have properties that are completely different from the well-known Harris model, particularly the multiscale structure, embedding and metastability. The structure and evolution of TCSs under the tearing mode as well as the related paradox of complete tearing mode stabilization in configurations with a nonzero normal magnetic field component is highlighted.

This work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant № 20-42-04418.

How to cite: Malova, H., Zelenyi, L., Popov, V., and Grigorenko, E.: Thin current sheets as key structures in space plasma, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9219,, 2021.

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