EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Electron heating scales in quasi-perpendicular shocks

Andreas Johlander, Andrew Dimmock, Yuri Khotyaintsev, Daniel Graham, and Ahmad Lalti
Andreas Johlander et al.
  • Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, Sweden

Collisionless shock waves are important for particle heating and acceleration in space. Electron heating at shocks is a combination of adiabatic heating due to large-scale electric and magnetic fields and scattering by high-frequency oscillations. Electron heating and scattering at the shock is still poorly understood but the scales at which heating happens can hint to which physical processes are taking place. Here, we study electron heating scales with the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft at Earth’s quasi-perpendicular bow shock. We utilize the small tetrahedron formation and rapid plasma measurements of MMS to directly measure the electron temperature gradient inside the shock. From this, we reconstruct the electron temperature profile inside the shock ramps of a number of shock crossings with varying shock parameters. We find that most of the electron temperature increase takes place on a scale of tens of electron inertial lengths. Further, we investigate the electron distribution functions and attempt to disentangle the effects of the large-scale adiabatic heating and scattering by high-frequency waves.

How to cite: Johlander, A., Dimmock, A., Khotyaintsev, Y., Graham, D., and Lalti, A.: Electron heating scales in quasi-perpendicular shocks, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4447,, 2022.


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