Investigations of Solar Wind Transport in Earth's Magnetosphere and Coronal Hole Boundary Layers Using Plasma Composition

Delano, Kevin Christopher
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This dissertation explores how composition measurements can be used to reveal underlying physical processes in space plasmas. The study consists of three parts and focuses on two major plasma environments: the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere. The first part investigates plasma transfer across Earth's magnetopause, using data from the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft to determine whether or not He++, a heavier ion species, is reflected at the same rate as H+, a lighter ion species. The second part uses composition measurements from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft to examine two major coronal holes in 2003, ascertaining if these coronal holes have a thick coronal hole boundary layer. Finally, the third part of this dissertation uses ACE, Wind, and MMS data to determine the transport time lag between enhancements in solar wind He++ density and corresponding enhancements of He++ density in the dayside magnetosphere. As a whole, the results of these studies advance the space science community's understanding of plasma transport in the solar wind-magnetosphere coupled system as well as processes occurring in the Sun's corona.

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Coronal Holes, Magnetosphere, Solar Wind, Space Plasmas
Physics and Astronomy