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Precursor in Blue
Anatoly Spitkovsky (faculty)
Department of Astrophysics
Collisions of clouds of plasma in space are a violent affair. They launch shock waves, generate magnetic fields, and accelerate particles. This image shows the structure of magnetic turbulence near a collisionless shock in space. The shock is moving down in this picture, and accelerated particles that escape ahead of the shock inflate pockets of plasma, called a precursor.