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Cluster observations of reconnection due to the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability at the dawnside magnetospheric flank

Cluster observations of reconnection due to the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability at the dawnside magnetospheric flank

Publication date: 21 October 2006

Authors: Nykyri, K. et al

Journal: Annales Geophysicae
Volume: 24
Issue: 10
Page: 2619-2643
Year: 2006

Copyright: Copernicus

On 3 July 2001, the four Cluster satellites traversed along the dawnside magnetospheric flank and observed large variations in all plasma parameters. The estimated magnetopause boundary normals were oscillating in the z-direction and the normal component of the magnetic field showed systematic ~2-3 min bipolar variations for 1h when the IMF had a small positive bz-component and a Parker-spiral orientation in the x,y-plane. Brief ~33 s intervals with excellent deHoffman Teller frames were observed satisfying the Walén relation. Detailed comparisons with 2-D MHD simulations indicate that Cluster encountered rotational discontinuities generated by Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. We estimate a wave length of ~6 RE and a wave vector with a significant z-component.

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