Publication archive

Publication archive

We investigate in detail a reversal of plasma flow from tailward to earthward detected by Cluster at the downstream distance of ~19 RE in the midnight sector of the magnetotail on 22 August 2001. This flow reversal was accompanied by a sign reversal of the Bz component and occurred during the late substorm expansion phase as revealed by simultaneous global view of auroral activity from IMAGE. We examine the associated Hall current system signature, current density, electric field, Lorentz force, and current dissipation/dynamo term, the last two parameters being new features that have not been studied previously for plasma flow reversals. It is found that (1) there was no clear quadrupole Hall current system signature organized by the flow reversal time, (2) the x-component of the Lorentz force did not change sign while the other two did, (3) the timing sequence of flow reversal from the Cluster configuration did not match tailward motion of a single plasma flow source, (4) the electric field was occasionally dawnward, producing a dynamo effect, and (5) the electric field was occasionally larger at the high-latitude plasma sheet than near the neutral sheet. These observations are consistent with the current disruption model for substorms in which these disturbances are due to shifting dominance of multiple current disruption sites and turbulence at the observing location.
Published: 10 August 2006
Observations by the Cluster spacecraft of VLF/ELF wave activity show distinct signatures for different regions in the vicinity of high altitude polar cusps, which are identified by using magnetic field and plasma data along spacecraft trajectories. These waves include: (1) Broad band magnetic noise observed in the polar cusp at frequencies from several Hz to ~100 Hz, below the local electron cyclotron frequency, fce. Similar magnetic noise is also observed in the high latitude magnetosheath and the magnetopause boundary layer. (2) Strong broad band electrostatic emissions observed in the cusp, in the magnetosheath, and in the high latitude magnetopause boundary layer, at frequencies extending from several Hz to tens of kHz, with maximum intensities below ~100 Hz. (3) Narrow-band electromagnetic whistler waves at frequencies ~0.2-0.6 fce, frequently observed in the closed boundary layer (CBL) adjacent to the polar cusp. These waves are for the first time observed in this region to be accompanied by counter-streaming electron beams of ~100 eV, which suggests that the waves are excited by these electrons through wave-particle interaction. (4) Narrow-band electrostatic waves observed slightly above the local fce in the CBL. (5) Lion roars, observed in the high latitude magnetosheath, often in magnetic troughs of mirror mode oscillations. The above wave signatures can serve as indicators of the regions in the vicinity of the magnetospheric cusp.
Published: 10 August 2006
We surveyed fast current sheet crossings (flapping motions) over the distance range 10-30 RE in the magnetotail covered by the Geotail spacecraft. Since the local tilts of these dynamic sheets are large and variable in these events, we compare three different methods of evaluating current sheet normals using 4-s/c Cluster data and define the success criteria for the single-spacecraft-based method (MVA) to obtain the reliable results. Then, after identifying more than ~1100 fast CS crossings over a 3-year period of Geotail observations in 1997-1999, we address their parameters, spatial distribution and activity dependence. We confirm that over the entire distance covered and LT bins, fast crossings have considerable tilts in the YZ plane (from estimated MVA normals) which show a preferential appearance of one (YZ kink-like) mode that is responsible for these severe current sheet perturbations. Their occurrence is highly inhomogeneous; it sharply increases with radial distance and has a peak in the tail center (with some duskward shift), resembling the occurrence of the BBFs, although there is no one-to-one local correspondence between these two phenomena. The crossing durations typically spread around 1 min and decrease significantly where the high-speed flows are registered. Based on an AE index superposed epoch study, the flapping motions prefer to appear during the substorm expansion phase, although a considerable number of events without any electrojet and auroral activity were also observed. We also present statistical distributions of other parameters and briefly discuss what could be possible mechanisms to generate the flapping motions.
Published: 10 August 2006
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.
Published: 10 August 2006
We investigate in detail a reversal of plasma flow from tailward to earthward detected by Cluster at the downstream distance of ~19 RE in the midnight sector of the magnetotail on 22 August 2001. This flow reversal was accompanied by a sign reversal of the Bz component and occurred during the late substorm expansion phase as revealed by simultaneous global view of auroral activity from IMAGE. We examine the associated Hall current system signature, current density, electric field, Lorentz force, and current dissipation/dynamo term, the last two parameters being new features that have not been studied previously for plasma flow reversals. It is found that (1) there was no clear quadrupole Hall current system signature organized by the flow reversal time, (2) the x-component of the Lorentz force did not change sign while the other two did, (3) the timing sequence of flow reversal from the Cluster configuration did not match tailward motion of a single plasma flow source, (4) the electric field was occasionally dawnward, producing a dynamo effect, and (5) the electric field was occasionally larger at the high-latitude plasma sheet than near the neutral sheet. These observations are consistent with the current disruption model for substorms in which these disturbances are due to shifting dominance of multiple current disruption sites and turbulence at the observing location.
Published: 10 August 2006
The profile of intense high-altitude electric fields on auroral field lines has been studied using Cluster data. A total of 41 events with mapped electric field magnitudes in the range between 0.5-1 V/m were examined, 27 of which were co-located with a plasma boundary, defined by gradients in particle flux, plasma density and plasma temperature. Monopolar electric field profiles were observed in 11 and bipolar electric field profiles in 16 of these boundary-associated electric field events. Of the monopolar fields, all but one occurred at the polar cap boundary in the late evening and midnight sectors, and the electric fields were typically directed equatorward, whereas the bipolar fields all occurred at plasma boundaries clearly within the plasma sheet. These results support the prediction by Marklund et al. (2004), that the electric field profile depends on whether plasma populations, able to support intense field-aligned currents and closure by Pedersen currents, exist on both sides, or one side only, of the boundary.
Published: 04 July 2006
Plasmaspheric plumes have been routinely observed by CLUSTER and IMAGE. The CLUSTER mission provides high time resolution four-point measurements of the plasmasphere near perigee. Total electron density profiles have been derived from the electron plasma frequency identified by the WHISPER sounder supplemented, in-between soundings, by relative variations of the spacecraft potential measured by the electric field instrument EFW; ion velocity is also measured onboard these satellites. The EUV imager onboard the IMAGE spacecraft provides global images of the plasmasphere with a spatial resolution of 0.1 RE every 10 min; such images acquired near apogee from high above the pole show the geometry of plasmaspheric plumes, their evolution and motion. We present coordinated observations of three plume events and compare CLUSTER in-situ data with global images of the plasmasphere obtained by IMAGE. In particular, we study the geometry and the orientation of plasmaspheric plumes by using four-point analysis methods. We compare several aspects of plume motion as determined by different methods: (i) inner and outer plume boundary velocity calculated from time delays of this boundary as observed by the wave experiment WHISPER on the four spacecraft, (ii) drift velocity measured by the electron drift instrument EDI onboard CLUSTER and (iii) global velocity determined from successive EUV images. These different techniques consistently indicate that plasmaspheric plumes rotate around the Earth, with their foot fully co-rotating, but with their tip rotating slower and moving farther out.
Published: 04 July 2006
Another approach (Multiple Triangulation Analysis, MTA) is presented to determine the orientation of magnetic flux rope, based on 4-point measurements. A 2-D flux rope model is used to examine the accuracy of the MTA technique in a theoretical way. It is found that the precision of the estimated orientation is dependent on both the spacecraft separation and the constellation path relative to the flux rope structure. However, the MTA error range can be shown to be smaller than that of the traditional MVA technique. As an application to real Cluster data, several flux rope events on 26 January 2001 are analyzed using MTA, to obtain their orientations. The results are compared with the ones obtained by several other methods which also yield flux rope orientation. The estimated axis orientations are shown to be fairly close, suggesting the reliability of the MTA method.
Published: 04 July 2006
Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in astrophysical, space and laboratory plasmas. Identifying the structure around the point at which the magnetic field lines break and subsequently reform, known as the magnetic null point, is crucial to improving our understanding of reconnection. But owing to the inherently three-dimensional nature of this process, magnetic nulls are only detectable through measurements obtained simultaneously from at least four points in space. Using data collected by the four spacecraft of the Cluster constellation as they traversed a diffusion region in the Earth's magnetotail on 15 September 2001, we report here the first in situ evidence for the structure of an isolated magnetic null. The results indicate that it has a positive-spiral structure whose spatial extent is of the same order as the local ion inertial length scale, suggesting that the Hall effect could play an important role in 3D reconnection dynamics.
Published: 02 June 2006
The Cluster and Double Star satellites recently observed plasma density holes upstream of Earth's collisionless bow shock to apogee distances of ~19 and 13 Earth radii, respectively. A survey of 147 isolated density holes using 4 s time resolution data shows they have a mean duration of ~17.9±10.4 s, but holes as short as 4 s are observed. The average fractional density depletion (delta n/n) inside the holes is ~0.68±0.14. The upstream edge of density holes can have enhanced densities that are five or more times the solar wind density. Particle distributions show the steepened edge can behave like a shock. Multispacecraft analyses show the density holes move with the solar wind, can have an ion gyroradius scale, and could be expanding. A small normal electric field points outward. Similarly shaped magnetic holes accompany the density holes indicating strong coupling between fields and particles. The density holes are only observed with upstream particles, suggesting that backstreaming particles interacting with the solar wind are important.
Published: 23 May 2006
The Cluster mission allows the study of the plasmasphere with four-point measurements, including its overall density distribution, plasmaspheric plumes close to the plasmapause, and density irregularities inside the plasmasphere. The purpose of this letter is to examine the geometry and orientation of the overall density structure and of the magnetic field. We present a typical Cluster plasmasphere crossing for which we compute the four-point spatial gradient of the electron density and the magnetic field strength, and we compare the direction of both gradients with the local field vector. We discuss the role of the gradient components along and transverse to field lines; transverse density gradients, in particular, are found to suggest the presence of azimuthal density variations.
Published: 27 April 2006
Using the observations of three satellites of Cluster (C1, C3, and C4) during the periods July to October 2001 and July to October 2002, we study 209 active time bursty bulk flows (BBFs), the difference between single satellite observations and multisatellite observations, and the difference among three selection criteria (two about BBFs and one about rapid convection event). Single satellite observations show that the average duration of BBFs selected by the criterion of Angelopoulos et al. is 604 s, while multisatellite observations show that the average duration of BBFs is 1105 s. Single satellite sometimes misses the BBFs. The missing ratio of single satellite is 22.4% for the criterion of Angelopoulos et al. and 44.9 % for the criterion of Raj et al. Therefore the single satellite observations cannot tell the true number of BBFs. The multisatellite observations are more important for the criterion of Raj et al. The single satellite observations also show that 22% of substorms are not accompanied by BBFs, while multisatellite observations show that only 4.5% of substorms are not accompanied by BBFs. Thus it seems possible that all substorms are accompanied by BBFs. The occurrence frequency of RCEs in the central plasma sheet obtained by multisatellites is 12.2%. The occurrence frequency of BBFs in the central plasma sheet is 9.5% for single satellite observations and 19.4% for multisatellite observations. So BBFs may contribute more to the transport of magnetic flux, mass, and energy than what was estimated by previous studies based on single satellite observations.
Published: 08 April 2006
We examine magnetic flux closure during an extended substorm interval on 29 August 2004 involving a two-stage onset and subsequent re-intensifications. Cluster and Double Star provide observations of magnetotail dynamics, while the corresponding auroral evolution, convection response, and substorm current wedge development are monitored by IMAGE FUV, SuperDARN, and the Greenland magnetometer chain, respectively. The first stage of onset is associated with the reconnection of closed flux in the plasma sheet; this is accompanied by a short-lived auroral intensification, a modest substorm current wedge magnetic bay, but no significant ionospheric convection enhancement. The second stage follows the progression of reconnection to the open field lines of the lobes; accompanied by prolonged auroral bulge and westward-travelling surge development, enhanced magnetic bays and convection. We find that the tail dynamics are highly influenced by ongoing dayside creation of open flux, leading to flux pile-up in the near-tail and a step-wise down-tail motion of the tail reconnection site. In all, 5 dipolarizations are observed, each associated with the closure of ~0.1 GWb of flux. Very simple calculations indicate that the X-line should progress down-tail at a speed of 20 km s-1, or 6 RE between each dipolarization.
Published: 23 March 2006
We have studied ion distributions measured in the Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer (PSBL) of the Earth's magnetotail by the Cluster spacecraft at X ~ -15Re. Field-aligned ion beams (beamlets) accelerated in the magnetotail to energies of ~30keV are typically observed within the interface region between the Plasma Sheet (PS) and the magnetotail lobes. PSBL beamlets are produced by non-adiabatic ion acceleration in the vicinity of X-line which is located, during quiet periods, in the distant parts of the tail. Earlier kinetic models attributed the filamentary and/or bursty nature of these processes to Current Sheet (CS) resonances and predicted the scaling law for the velocity of subsequent structures as VN ~ N2/3. Cluster-2 provides experimental evidence from the PSBL from of the existence of such resonant structures in ion velocity space and provides the first statistically proven identification of such a scaling law for quiet and moderately disturbed periods.
Published: 21 March 2006
We use Cluster spacecraft observations to study in detail the structure of a magnetic reconnection separatrix region on the magnetospheric side of the magnetopause about 50 ion inertial lengths away from the X-line. The separatrix region is the region between the magnetic separatrix and the reconnection jet. It is several ion inertial lengths wide and it contains a few subregions showing different features in particle and wave data. One subregion, a density cavity adjacent to the separatrix, has strong electric fields, electron beams and intense wave turbulence. The separatrix region shows structures even at smaller scales, for example, solitary waves at Debye length scale. We describe in detail electron distribution functions and electric field spectra in the separatrix region and we compare them to a numerical simulation. Our observations show that while reconnection is ongoing the separatrix region is highly structured and dynamic in the electric field even if the X-line is up to 50 ion inertial lengths away.
Published: 16 March 2006
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.075002
Here we report the first three-dimensional spatial spectrum of the low frequency magnetic turbulence obtained from the four Cluster spacecraft in the terrestrial magnetosheath close to the magnetopause. We show that the turbulence is compressible and dominated by mirror structures, its energy is injected at a large scale k × rho ~ 0.3 (l~2000 km) via a mirror instability well predicted by linear theory, and cascades nonlinearly and unexpectedly up to k × rho ~ 3.5 (l~150 km), revealing a new power law in the inertial range not predicted by any turbulence theory, and its strong anisotropy is controlled by the static magnetic field and the magnetopause normal.
Published: 24 February 2006
Magnetic reconnection is a favored mechanism for understanding charged-particle acceleration phenomena in space and laboratory plasmas. A change in magnetic field line topology is envisioned in magnetic reconnection to release the stored magnetic field energy. In order for this to take place, some form of dissipation to break the frozen-in condition is required. Since the classical resistivity is often inadequate for collisionless plasmas, anomalous resistivity via charged particles interacting with fluctuating electromagnetic fields is customarily invoked. However, anomalous resistivity is often modeled rather than computed from theory. In this article, we formulate the theory of anomalous transport from first principles. It is found that the effect of fluctuations can be defined through three anomalous transport terms governing momentum and energy transport and the resistivity. To illustrate the utility of these derived equations, examples that bear relevance to the consideration of breakdown in the frozen-in condition in magnetic reconnection are discussed.
Published: 17 February 2006
The space weather event of August/September 1859 is now famous because of the observation by Carrington and Hodgson of a solar flare. However, at the time, the associated magnetic disturbances produced widespread auroral displays and disruption to telegraph transmissions which attracted much public attention and were widely reported in the newspapers and scientific articles. In this paper, I review all the available literature to assess the characteristics of the magnetic disturbances and the locations and times of the telegraph effects. This information is used to construct a timeline for the whole of the disturbed interval comprising the magnetic storms of August 28/29 and September 2/3. The first magnetic disturbance started in the evening of August 28 and telegraph operations were disrupted in North America and Europe through till the next morning. The second disturbance started with a sudden commencement at 04.40 UT on September 2 and a major disturbance followed immediately. Between 06.00 and 06.30 UT reports of a negative H variation of ~3000 nT at Rome and a large swing in Z at Greenwich indicate the expansion of the auroral oval to mid latitudes. This coincides with the time of the large disturbance at Bombay but there is no evidence that the auroral currents contributed to the Bombay disturbance. This initial disturbance subsided but magnetic activity increased again in the latter half of September 2 with lesser activity occurring on subsequent days. - Remainder of abstract truncated -
Published: 15 February 2006
Magnetic field lines are known to reorganize themselves in plasmas, converting magnetic to particle energy. Evidence harvested from the solar wind implies that the scale of the effect is larger than was thought.
Published: 12 January 2006
Magnetic reconnection in a current sheet is a magnetic to particle energy conversion process that is important in many laboratory, space and astrophysical contexts. It is not presently known whether reconnection is fundamentally a process that can occur over an extended region in space or whether it is patchy and unpredictable in nature. Frequent reports of small-scale flux ropes and flow channels in Earth's magnetosphere associated with reconnection raise the possibility that reconnection is intrinsically patchy, each reconnection region extending at most a few Earth radii (RE) even though the associated current sheets span many tens or hundreds of RE. Here we report three spacecraft observations of accelerated flow associated with reconnection in a current sheet embedded in the solar wind flow where the reconnection line extended at least 390 RE (or 2.5 million km). Observations of this and 27 similar events imply that reconnection is fundamentally large scale. Patchy reconnection observed in the magnetosphere is likely to be a geophysical effect associated with fluctuating boundary conditions rather than a fundamental property of reconnection. Our observations also reveal, surprisingly, that reconnection can operate in a quasi-steady-state manner even when undriven by the external flow.
Published: 12 January 2006
28-Mar-2020 21:51 UT

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