Diocotron instability vortices photographed on a fluorescent screen. Source: H. F. Webster

Diocotron instability

The diocotron instability (also called the slipping stream plasma instability), is “one of the most ubiquitous instabilities in low density nonneutral plasmas with shear in the flow velocity [.. that can ..] occur in propagating non-neutral electron beams and layers”.[2] [3] It may give rise to electron vortices,[4], which resembles the Kelvin-Helmholtz fluid dynamical shear … Read more

Jupiter aurora
The aurora on Jupiter,[1] powered by Jovian Birkeland currents.[2] Source/credit

Birkeland current

A Birkeland current usually refers to the electric currents in a planet’s ionosphere that follows magnetic field lines (ie field-aligned currents), and sometimes used to described any field-aligned electric current in a space plasma.[3] They are caused by the movement of a plasma perpendicular to a magnetic field. Birkeland currents often show filamentary, or twisted … Read more

Physics of the Plasma Universe (Book)
Physics of the Plasma Universe
by Anthony L. Peratt, now in its second edition.

Physics of the Plasma Universe (Book)

By Anthony L. Peratt 1st Ed. publ. 1992 Springer-Verlag, ISBN 0-387-97575-6 and ISBN 3-540-97575-6 (Out of print. Second-hand copies @ addall.com) 2nd Ed. publ. Sept. 2014. ISBN 978-1-4614-7818-8. Springer.[1] The content below refers to the first edition. Extract “The purpose of this book is to address the growing recognition of the need for plasma physics … Read more

Plasma instability

A Plasma instability is a region where turbulence occurs due to changes in the characteristics of a plasma (eg. temperature, density, electric fields, magneti fields). As the name suggests, instabilities are unstable, though they may appear to evolve through different forms (morphology). Similar types of instability are common in fluids (liquids and gases). Categorization Plasma … Read more