Whistler Waves as a Signature of Converging Magnetic Holes in Space Plasmas

Wence Jiang, Daniel Verscharen, Hui Li, Chi Wang, Kristopher G. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Magnetic holes are plasma structures that trap a large number of particles in a magnetic field that is weaker than the field in its surroundings. The unprecedented high time-resolution observations by NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission enable us to study the particle dynamics in magnetic holes in the Earth’s magnetosheath in great detail. We reveal the local generation mechanism of whistler waves by a combination of Landau-resonant and cyclotron-resonant wave-particle interactions of electrons in response to the large-scale evolution of a magnetic hole. As the magnetic hole converges, a pair of counter-streaming electron beams form near the hole’s center as a consequence of the combined action of betatron and Fermi effects. The beams trigger the generation of slightly oblique whistler waves. Our conceptual prediction is supported by a remarkable agreement between our observations and numerical predictions from the Arbitrary Linear Plasma Solver. Our study shows that wave-particle interactions are fundamental to the evolution of magnetic holes in space and astrophysical plasmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number169
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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