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Magnetic barrier encounters
One process that can inject solar wind plasma into the magnetosphere is impulsive penetration that was suggested by Lemaire (Planet. Space Sci. vol. 25, 887-890, 1977). A series of experiments were performed recently at KTH using a plasma cannon to shoot a plasmoid at a magnetic barrier (Brenning, et al., Phys. Plasmas, vol. 12, 012309, 2005). It was found that at a critical current, that is about 2-3 times the ion thermal speed, non-linear oscillations in the lower hybrid range give rise to a resistivity which is at least 200-300 times the classically expected value, known as the Spitzer resistivity. The equipment that was used in these experiments has now been moved from KTH to WVU. The generation of lower hybrid wave activity was demonstrated in a recent particle in cell simulation (see publications below).

A plasmoid penetrating a magnetic barrier in a computer simulation.

Related publications
Updated 2012-11-12