Evaluating Single Spacecraft Observations of Planetary Magnetotails With Simple Monte Carlo Simulations: 2. Magnetic Flux Rope Signature Selection Effects

A. W. Smith*, C. M. Jackman, C. M. Frohmaier, R. C. Fear, J. A. Slavin, J. C. Coxon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A Monte Carlo method of investigating the effects of placing selection criteria on the magnetic signature of in situ encounters with flux ropes is presented. The technique is applied to two recent flux rope surveys of MESSENGER data within the Hermean magnetotail. It is found that the different criteria placed upon the signatures will preferentially identify slightly different subsets of the underlying population. Quantifying the selection biases first allows the distributions of flux rope parameters to be corrected, allowing a more accurate estimation of the intrinsic distributions. This is shown with regard to the distribution of flux rope radii observed. When accounting for the selection criteria, the mean radius of Hermean magnetotail quasi-force-free flux ropes is found to be 589+273 −269 km. Second, it is possible to weight the known identifications in order to determine a rate of recurrence that accounts for the presence of the structures that will not be identified. In the case of the Hermean magnetotail, the average rate of quasi-force-free flux ropes is found to 0.12 min−1 when selection effects are accounted for (up from 0.05 min−1 previously inferred from observations).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10124-10138
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume123
Issue number12
Early online date22 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

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