Transmission of foreshock waves through Earth’s bow shock

L. Turc*, O. W. Roberts, D. Verscharen, A. P. Dimmock, P. Kajdič, M. Palmroth, Y. Pfau-Kempf, A. Johlander, M. Dubart, E. K.J. Kilpua, J. Soucek, K. Takahashi, N. Takahashi, M. Battarbee, U. Ganse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The Earth’s magnetosphere and its bow shock, which is formed by the interaction of the supersonic solar wind with the terrestrial magnetic field, constitute a rich natural laboratory enabling in situ investigations of universal plasma processes. Under suitable interplanetary magnetic field conditions, a foreshock with intense wave activity forms upstream of the bow shock. So-called 30 s waves, named after their typical period at Earth, are the dominant wave mode in the foreshock and play an important role in modulating the shape of the shock front and affect particle reflection at the shock. These waves are also observed inside the magnetosphere and down to the Earth’s surface, but how they are transmitted through the bow shock remains unknown. By combining state-of-the-art global numerical simulations and spacecraft observations, we demonstrate that the interaction of foreshock waves with the shock generates earthward-propagating, fast-mode waves, which reach the magnetosphere. These findings give crucial insight into the interaction of waves with collisionless shocks in general and their impact on the downstream medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalNature Physics
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


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