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Cluster observation of collisionless transport at the magnetopause

Cluster observation of collisionless transport at the magnetopause

Publication date: 12 August 2006

Authors: Panov, E.V. et al.

Journal: Geophys. Res. Lett.
Volume: 33
Issue: 15
Page: L15109
Year: 2006

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

On May 10, 2002 the Cluster spacecraft (SC) encountered a ~450 km (five magnetosheath thermal proton gyro-radii) wide high-latitude magnetopause (MP). Magnetic field observations indicate the crossing of a ~130 km thick MP current sheet (CS) located inside a magnetic hole. Proton flux measurements diagnose a dense boundary layer (BL) directly attached to the MP and an additional rare BL located earthwards from the MP. Enhanced magnetic fluctuations are found near the local proton-cyclotron frequency Omegacp (0.4-2 Hz). Applying the phase-differencing technique we obtained a wavelength of 150-250 km and the propagating direction earthward perpendicular to the MP. Inside the MP the pitch-angle proton distribution demonstrates the presence of a transverse population. The formation of the two BLs can be understood by enhanced collisionless diffusion of magnetosheath protons due to wave-particle interaction, while higher-energy protons (Wp > 300 eV) penetrate into the BLs also via finite gyro-radius effect.

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