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Reconnection and energetic particles at the edge of the exterior cusp

Reconnection and energetic particles at the edge of the exterior cusp

Publication date: 10 August 2006

Authors: Asikainen, T. & Mursula, K.

Journal: Annales Geophysicae
Volume: 24
Page: 1949-1956
Year: 2006

Copyright: Copernicus

In this paper we study flux transfer events (FTE) observed at the post-noon edge of the exterior cusp region by Cluster satellites. During the outbound dayside orbit on 2 February 2003, intense bursts of energetic particles were observed in close conjuction with magnetic field FTE signatures by the RAPID instrument onboard the Cluster 4. The pitch-angle distribution of the particles showed that the enhancements consist of particles flowing antiparallel to the magnetosheath field lines away from the expected reconnection site to the exterior cusp. At the same time Cluster 3 observed enhancements of energetic particles deeper in the exterior cusp with a delay of about 40 s to the Cluster 4 enhancements. The estimated maximum energy gain per particle by reconnection remains below 1 keV, thus clearly below the tens to hundreds of keV energy range observed by the RAPID instrument. These observations support the earlier statistical result of the magnetospheric origin of energetic particles in the exterior cusp. Reconnection near the exterior cusp partly releases the particles in the closed field lines of the adjacent HLPS region into the exterior cusp.

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