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Large-scale structure and dynamics of the magnetotails of Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Published
  • C. M. Jackman
  • C. S. Arridge
  • N. Andre
  • F. Bagenal
  • J. Birn
  • M. P. Freeman
  • X. Jia
  • A. Kidder
  • S. E. Milan
  • A. Radioti
  • J. A. Slavin
  • M. F. Vogt
  • M. Volwerk
  • A. P. Walsh
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Space Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
Volume182
Number of pages70
Pages (from-to)85-154
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date25/07/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Spacecraft observations have established that all known planets with an internal magnetic field, as part of their interaction with the solar wind, possess well-developed magnetic tails, stretching vast distances on the nightside of the planets. In this review paper we focus on the magnetotails of Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, four planets which possess well-developed tails and which have been visited by several spacecraft over the years. The fundamental physical processes of reconnection, convection, and charged particle acceleration are common to the magnetic tails of Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn. The great differences in solar wind conditions, planetary rotation rates, internal plasma sources, ionospheric properties, and physical dimensions from Mercury's small magnetosphere to the giant magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn provide an outstanding opportunity to extend our understanding of the influence of such factors on basic processes. In this review article, we study the four planetary environments of Mercury, Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, comparing their common features and contrasting their unique dynamics.