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Flux transfer events simultaneously observed by Polar and Cluster: Flux rope in the subsolar region and flux tube addition to the polar cusp

Flux transfer events simultaneously observed by Polar and Cluster: Flux rope in the subsolar region and flux tube addition to the polar cusp

Publication date: 12 January 2008

Authors: Le. G. et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 113
Issue: A01
ID: A01205
Year: 2008

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

In this paper we present observational evidence of a flux transfer event observed simultaneously at low-latitude by Polar and at high-latitude by Cluster. This event occurs on 21 March 2002, when both Cluster and Polar are located near local noon but with a large latitudinal separation. During the event, Cluster is moving outbound from the polar cusp to the magnetosheath and Polar is in the magnetosheath near the equatorial magnetopause. The observations show that a flux transfer event occurs between the equator and the northern cusp. Polar and Cluster observe the FTE's two open flux tubes: Polar encounters the southward moving flux tube near the equator and Cluster encounters the northward moving flux tube at high latitude. The low-latitude FTE appears to be a flux rope with helical magnetic field lines as it has a strong core field and the magnetic field component in the boundary normal direction exhibits a strong bipolar variation. Unlike the low-latitude FTE, the high-latitude FTE observed by Cluster does not exhibit the characteristic bipolar perturbation in the magnetic field. However, the plasma data clearly reveal its open flux tube configuration. It shows that the magnetic field lines have straightened inside the FTE and become more aligned to the neighboring flux tubes as it moves to the cusp. Enhanced electrostatic fluctuations have been observed within the FTE core, both at low and high latitudes. This event provides a unique opportunity to understand high-latitude FTE signatures and the nature of time-varying reconnection. It shows that existing FTE models cannot accommodate all the features in global observations, and coordinated measurements from largely spaced multiple spacecraft place important constraints which are crucial to the development and refinement of FTE models.

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