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Ion Acceleration Inside Foreshock Transients


Liu, Terry Z.
Lu, San
Angelopoulos, Vassilis
Lin, Yu
Wang, X. Y.


Recent observations upstream of Earth's bow shock have revealed that foreshock transients can not only accelerate solar wind ions by reflection at their upstream boundaries but may also accelerate ions inside them. Evidence for the latter comes from comparisons of ion spectra inside and outside the cores, and from evidence of leakage of suprathermal ions from the cores. However, definite evidence for, and the physics of, ion acceleration in the foreshock transients are still open questions. Using case studies of foreshock transients from Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms observations, we reveal an ion acceleration mechanism in foreshock transients that is applicable to similar to 25% of the transients. The ion energy flux is enhanced between several keV to tens of keV in the cores. We show that these energetic ions are reflected at the earthward moving boundary of foreshock transients, are accelerated through partial gyration along the convection electric field, and can leak out both upstream and downstream of the foreshock transients. Using ions moving self-consistently with a generic 3-D global hybrid simulation of a foreshock transient, we confirm this physical picture of ion acceleration and leakage. These accelerated ions could be further accelerated at the local bow shock and repopulate the foreshock, increasing the efficacy of solar wind-magnetosphere interactions.