|Guo, J., Sun, T. R., Lu, S., Lu, Q. M., Lin, Y., Wang, X. Y., Wang, C., Wang, R. S., and Huang, K. (2024). Global hybrid simulations of soft X-ray emissions in the Earth’s magnetosheath. Earth Planet. Phys., 8(1), 47–58. doi: 10.26464/epp2023053
Earth’s magnetopause is a thin boundary separating the shocked solar wind plasma from the magnetospheric plasmas, and it is also the boundary of the solar wind energy transport to the magnetosphere. Soft X-ray imaging allows investigation of the large-scale magnetopause by providing a two-dimensional (2-D) global view from a satellite. By performing 3-D global hybrid-particle-in-cell (hybrid-PIC) simulations, we obtain soft X-ray images of Earth’s magnetopause under different solar wind conditions, such as different plasma densities and directions of the southward interplanetary magnetic field. In all cases, magnetic reconnection occurs at low latitude magnetopause. The soft X-ray images observed by a hypothetical satellite are shown, with all of the following identified: the boundary of the magnetopause, the cusps, and the magnetosheath. Local X-ray emissivity in the magnetosheath is characterized by large amplitude fluctuations (up to 160%); however, the maximum line-of-sight-integrated X-ray intensity matches the tangent directions of the magnetopause well, indicating that these fluctuations have limited impact on identifying the magnetopause boundary in the X-ray images. Moreover, the magnetopause boundary can be identified using multiple viewing geometries. We also find that solar wind conditions have little effect on the magnetopause identification. The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission will provide X-ray images of the magnetopause for the first time, and our global hybrid-PIC simulation results can help better understand the 2-D X-ray images of the magnetopause from a 3-D perspective, with particle kinetic effects considered.