MESSENGER Observations of Extreme Loading and Unloading of Mercury's Magnetic Tail
- Schriver, David
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Additional Creators:
- Baker, Daniel N., Gold, Robert E., Boardsen, Scott A., Anderson, Brian J., Travnicek, Pavel M., Raines, Jim M., Ho, George C., Solomon, Sean C., Zurbuchen, Thomas H., Sarantos, Menelaos, Nittler, Larry R., McNutt, Ralph L., Benna, Mehdi, Korth, Haje, Starr, Richard D., Krimigis, Stamatios M., Slavin, James A., and Gloeckler, George
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- During MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury, a series of 2-3 minute long enhancements of the magnetic field in the planet's magnetotail were observed. Magnetospheric substorms at Earth are powered by similar tail loading, but the amplitude is approximately 10 times less and the durations are 1 hr. These observations of extreme loading imply that the relative intensity of substorms at Mercury must be much larger than at Earth. The correspondence between the duration of tail enhancements and the calculated approximately 2 min Dungey cycle, which describes plasma circulation through Mercury's magnetosphere, suggests that such circulation determines substorm timescale. A key aspect of tail unloading during terrestrial substorms is the acceleration of energetic charged particles. Such signatures are puzzlingly absent from the MESSENGER flyby measurements.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20100026678.
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