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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 4
Ann. Geophys., 21, 955–982, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-955-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 21, 955–982, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-955-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  30 Apr 2003

30 Apr 2003

IMF control of cusp proton emission intensity and dayside convection: implications for component and anti-parallel reconnection

M. Lockwood2,1, B. S. Lanchester1, H. U. Frey3, K. Throp1, S. K. Morley1, S. E. Milan4, and M. Lester4 M. Lockwood et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Southampton University, Southampton, Hampshire, UK
  • 2also at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Oxfordshire, UK
  • 3Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA., USA
  • 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, Leicester University, Leicester, UK

Abstract. We study a brightening of the Lyman-a emission in the cusp which occurred in response to a short-lived south-ward turning of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) during a period of strongly enhanced solar wind plasma concentration. The cusp proton emission is detected using the SI-12 channel of the FUV imager on the IMAGE spacecraft. Analysis of the IMF observations recorded by the ACE and Wind spacecraft reveals that the assumption of a constant propagation lag from the upstream spacecraft to the Earth is not adequate for these high time-resolution studies. The variations of the southward IMF component observed by ACE and Wind allow for the calculation of the ACE-to-Earth lag as a function of time. Application of the derived propagation delays reveals that the intensity of the cusp emission varied systematically with the IMF clock angle, the relationship being particularly striking when the intensity is normalised to allow for the variation in the upstream solar wind proton concentration. The latitude of the cusp migrated equatorward while the lagged IMF pointed southward, confirming the lag calculation and indicating ongoing magnetopause reconnection. Dayside convection, as monitored by the SuperDARN network of radars, responded rapidly to the IMF changes but lagged behind the cusp proton emission response: this is shown to be as predicted by the model of flow excitation by Cowley and Lockwood (1992). We use the numerical cusp ion precipitation model of Lockwood and Davis (1996), along with modelled Lyman-a emission efficiency and the SI-12 instrument response, to investigate the effect of the sheath field clock angle on the acceleration of ions on crossing the dayside magnetopause. This modelling reveals that the emission commences on each reconnected field line 2–2.5 min after it is opened and peaks 3–5 min after it is opened. We discuss how comparison of the Lyman-a intensities with oxygen emissions observed simultaneously by the SI-13 channel of the FUV instrument offers an opportunity to test whether or not the clock angle dependence is consistent with the "component" or the "anti-parallel" reconnection hypothesis.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp and boundary layers; solar wind-magnetosphere interactions) – Space plasma physics (magnetic reconnection)

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