Cluster observations of the mid-altitude cusp under strong northward Interplanetary magnetic field
Bogdanova, Yulia V.
Owen, Christopher J.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
We report on a multispacecraft cusp observation lasting more than 100 min. We determine the cusp boundary motion and reveal the effect on the cusp size of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) changing from southward to northward. The cusp shrinks at the beginning of the IMF rotation and it reexpands at the rate of 0.40° invariant latitude per hour under stable northward IMF. On the basis of plasma signatures inside the cusp, such as counterstreaming electrons with balanced fluxes, we propose that pulsed dual lobe reconnection operates during the time of interest. SC1 and SC4 observations suggest a long-term regular periodicity of the pulsed dual reconnection, which we estimate to be ∼1–5 min. Further, the distances from the spacecraft to the reconnection site are estimated on the basis of observations from three satellites. The distance determined using SC1 and SC4 observations is ∼15 RE and that determined from SC3 data is ∼8 RE. The large-scale speed of the reconnection site sunward motion is ∼16 km s−1. We observe also a fast motion of the reconnection site by SC1, which provides new information about the transitional phase after the IMF rotation. Finally, a statistical study of the dependency of plasma convection inside the cusp on the IMF clock angle is performed. The relationship between the cusp stagnation, the dual lobe reconnection process, and the IMF clock angle is discussed.
Copyright © 2008 American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Vol. 113 (A7), article A07S05