A Statistical Study of Giant Magnetic Vortices Observed in the Venusian Magnetosheath Academic Article uri icon


  • Due to its lack of an intrinsic magnetic field, the fast flowing solar wind plasma interacts directly with the Venusian ionosphere. The velocity shear that occurs at the boundary may excite Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, generating large vortices that may eventually detach themselves from the ionopause forming either bubbles or filamentary structures. Giant magnetic vortex like structures have been observed in the Venusian magnetosheath by Venus Express. These structures provide a mechanism for atmospheric escape processes. This paper provides a statistical study of a number of these events to determine their morphology and the upstream conditions that give rise to their generation.

publication date

  • December 1, 2009