Electric field and shapes of waves as seen by Cluster
Here, the colour of the four horizontal lines on each panel shows the potential of the electric field detected by each spacecraft. Red corresponds to plasma in the magnetosheath region and blue to plasma inside the magnetosphere. The grey curved line shows schematically the size and shape of the waves. The short black lines show the electric field measurements.
The top panel is a more detailed view of part of the overall observations, covering a horizontal distance of about 5000 km. The lower panel shows observations over a horizontal distance of about 40 000 km. Note that during the period of observation the satellites moved only about 550 km (it is the wave that passes the satellites).
Such high precision measurements of the electric field have been made possible by designing more sensitive probes with the help of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.