An interplanetary (IP) shock wave was recorded crossing the Magnetospheric Multiscale constellation on 2018 January 8. Plasma measurements upstream of the shock indicate efficient proton acceleration in the IP shock ramp: 2-7 keV protons are observed upstream for about three minutes (∼8000 km) ahead of the IP shock ramp, outrunning the upstream waves. The differential energy flux of 2-7 keV protons decays slowly with distance from the ramp toward the upstream region (dropping by about half within 8 Earth radii from the ramp) and is lessened by a factor of about four in the downstream compared to the ramp (within a distance comparable to the gyroradius of ∼keV protons). Comparison with test-particle simulations has confirmed that the mechanism accelerating the solar wind protons and injecting them upstream is classical Shock Drift Acceleration (SDA). This example of observed proton acceleration by a low-Mach, quasi-perpendicular shock may be applicable to astrophysical contexts, such as supernova remnants or the acceleration of cosmic rays.
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