Reflection of the strahl within the foot of the Earth’s bow shock
The reflection of a fraction of the solar wind at the bow shock to some extent defines the physical properties of what is known as the foreshock, the region where the interplanetary magnetic field has a direct connection to the bow shock. Both ion and electron reflection have been observed and together form a significant source of free energy that is responsible for many of the instabilities observed in this region. In this paper we concentrate on the reflection of electrons at the shock and report two significant findings: the first is that the strahl, the field-aligned component of the electron solar wind distribution, appears to be fully reflected at the bow shock; the second finding is that the reflection is observed to occur in the foot of the shock and not in the shock ramp. This latter observation implies that mirroring in these examples is not the primary determinant of the electron reflection process.