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Solar wind magnetic holes

The goal of this project is to further investigate properties, generation mechanisms and effects of bubbles of low magnetic field strength in the solar wind called ‘magnetic holes’.

Magnetic holes are isolated, deep depressions found in the solar wind at a large span of heliocentric distances, and with scale sizes ranging from a few hundred kilometers to many Earth radii. They are often associated with an increase in thermal pressure (but not in velocity). These localized increases in dynamic pressure can introduce a large asymmetry as the solar wind interacts with planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres.

Many of the properties of magnetic holes are not well known. Likewise their interaction with bow shocks and magnetosheaths, which modify the magnetic holes before they interact with the planetary magnetic field is poorly understood. There is also no agreement on how the holes are created.

We address these questions in the form of a number of concrete science questions: Where and how are magnetic holes created? How do solar wind magnetic holes interact with the bow shock and magnetosheath? How do magnetic holes affect the planetary environment?

Funding agency: SNSA 190/19