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Study of waves in the magnetotail region with cluster and DSP

Study of waves in the magnetotail region with cluster and DSP

Publication date: 12 April 2008

Authors: Volwerk, M. et al.

Journal: Adv. Space Res.
Volume: 41
Issue: 10
Page: 1593-1597
Year: 2008

Copyright: COSPAR

The study of the neutral sheet is of fundamental importance in understanding the dynamics of the Earth's magnetosphere. From the earliest observation of the magnetotail, it has been found that the neutral sheet frequently appears to be in motion due to changing solar wind conditions and geomagnetic activity. Multiple crossings of the neutral sheet by spacecraft have been attributed to a flapping motion of the neutral sheet in the north-south direction, a wavy profile either along the magnetotail or the dawn-dusk direction. Cluster observations have revealed that the flapping motions of the Earth's magnetotail are of internal origin and that kink-like waves are emitted from the central part of the tail and propagate toward the tail flanks. This flapping motion is shown here to propagate at an angle of ~45° with xGSM. A possible assumption that the flapping could be created by a wake travelling away from a fast flow in the current sheet is rejected. Other waves in the magnetotail are found in the ULF range. One conjunction event between Cluster and DoubleStar TC1 is presented where all spacecraft show ULF wave activity at a period of approximately 5 min during fast Earthward flow. These waves are shown to be Kelvin-Helmholtz waves on the boundaries of the flow channel. Calculations show that the conversion of flow energy into magnetic energy through the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability can contribute to a significant part of flow breaking between Cluster and DoubleStar TC1.

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