A new technique has been developed to determine the average structure of the Venus magnetotail (in the range from −8 Rv to −12 Rv) from the Pioneer Venus magnetometer observations. The spacecraft position with respect to the cross-tail current sheet is determined from an observed relationship between the field-draping angle and the magnitude of the field referenced to its value in the nearby magnetosheath. This allows us statistically to remove the effects of tail flapping and variability of draping for the first time and thus to map the average field configuration in the Venus tail. From this average configuration we calculate the cross-tail current density distribution and J × B forces. Continuity of the tangential electric field is utilized to determine the average variations of the X-directed velocity which is shown to vary from −250 km/s at −8 Rv to −470 km/s at −12 Rv. From the calculated J × B forces, plasma velocity, and MHD momentum equation the approximate plasma acceleration, density, and temperature in the Venus tail are determined. The derived ion density is approximately ∼0.07 p+/cm³ (0.005 O+/cm³) in the lobes and ∼0.9 p+/cm³ (0.06 O+/cm³) in the current sheet, while the derived approximate average plasma temperature for the tail is ∼6×106 K for a hydrogen plasma or ∼9×107 K for an oxygen plasma.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
American Geophysical Union Publications
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
McComas, D. J., H. E. Spence, C. T. Russell, and M. A. Saunders (1986), The average magnetic field draping and consistent plasma properties of the Venus magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res., 91(A7), 7939–7953, doi:10.1029/JA091iA07p07939.
Copyright 1986 by the American Geophysical Union.