Statistical study of the quasi-perpendicular shock ramp widths Academic Article uri icon


  • [1] The width of the collisionless shock front is one of the key shock parameters. The width of the main shock transition layer is related to the nature of the collisionless process that balances nonlinearity and therefore leads to the formation of the shock itself. The shock width determines how the incoming plasma particles interact with the macroscopic fields within the front and, therefore, the processes that result in the energy redistribution at the front. Cluster and Themis measurements at the quasi-perpendicular part of the terrestrial bow shock are used to study the spatial scale of the magnetic ramp. It is shown that statistically the ramp spatial scale decreases with the increase of the shock Mach number. This decrease of the shock scale together with previously observed whistler packets in the foot of supercritical quasi-perpendicular shock indicates that it is the dispersion that determines the size of magnetic ramp even for supercritical shocks.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010