Using Double Star and Cluster Synoptic Observations to Test Global MHD Simulations of the Large-scale Topology of the Dayside Merging Region
Publication date: 15 December 2005
Authors: Berchem, J. et al.
Copyright: American Geophysical Union
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2005, abstract #SM23C-06
Synoptic measurements from the DOUBLE STAR and CLUSTER spacecraft offer a unique opportunity to evaluate global models in simulating the complex topology and dynamics of the dayside merging region. We compare observations from the DOUBLE STAR TC-1 and CLUSTER spacecraft on May 8, 2004 with the predictions from a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation that uses plasma and magnetic field parameters measured upstream of the bow shock by the WIND spacecraft. Results from the global simulation are consistent with the large-scale features observed by CLUSTER and TC-1. We discuss topological changes and plasma flows at the dayside magnetospheric boundary inferred from the simulation results. The simulation shows that the DOUBLE STAR spacecraft passed through the dawn side merging region as the IMF rotated. In particular, the simulation indicates that at times TC-1 was very close to the merging region. In addition, we found that the bifurcation of the merging region in the simulation results is consistent with predictions by the antiparallel merging model. However, because of the draping of the magnetosheath field lines over the magnetopause, the positions and shape of the merging region differ significantly from those predicted by the model.