Observations of the cusp region under northward IMF
Abstract. We present a comparative study of the cusp region using the EISCAT Svalbard Radars (ESR) and the Cluster spacecraft. We focus in this paper on 2 February 2001, over the time period from 07:30 UT to 12:00 UT when the oblique ESR antenna pointing northward at a low elevation recorded latitudinal motions of the cusp region in response to the IMF. Meanwhile, the Cluster satellites were flying over the EISCAT Svalbard Radar field-of-view around local magnetic noon. The spacecraft first flew near ESR, northeast of Svalbard and then passed over the field-of-view of the antenna at about 11:30 UT. From 08:00 UT to 09:00 UT, the IMF remains primarily southward yet several variations in the Z-component are seen to move the cusp. Around 09:00 UT, an abrupt northward turning of the IMF moves the cusp region to higher latitudes. As a result, the Cluster satellites ended up in the northernmost boundary of the high-altitude cusp region where the CIS instrument recorded highly structured plasma due to ion injections in the lobe of the magnetosphere. After 09:00 UT, the IMF remains northward for more than two hours. Over this period, the ESR records sunward plasma flow in the cusp region due to lobe reconnection, while Cluster spacecraft remain in the high-altitude cusp.
Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp, and boundary layers; plasma convection) Ionosphere (polar ionosphere)