The foreshock, extending upstream of Earth's bow shock, is a region of intense electromagnetic wave activity and nonlinear phenomena, which can have global effects on geospace. It is also the first geophysical region encountered by solar wind disturbances journeying toward Earth. Here, we present the first observations of considerable modifications of the foreshock wave field during extreme events of solar origin called magnetic clouds. Cluster's multispacecraft data reveal that the typical quasi-monochromatic foreshock waves can be completely replaced by a superposition of waves each with shorter correlation lengths. Global numerical simulations further confirm that the foreshock wave field is more intricate and organized at smaller scales. Ion measurements suggest that changes in shock-reflected particle properties may cause these modifications of the wave field. This state of the foreshock is encountered only during extreme events at Earth, but intense magnetic fields are typical close to the Sun or other stars.
- magnetic clouds
- plasma waves
- solar wind-magnetosphere interaction
- ULF waves