Articles | Volume 22, issue 3
19 Mar 2004
 | 19 Mar 2004

Quantitative magnetotail characteristics of different magnetospheric states

M. A. Shukhtina, N. P. Dmitrieva, and V. A. Sergeev

Abstract. Quantitative relationships allowing one to compute the lobe magnetic field, flaring angle and tail radius, and to evaluate magnetic flux based on solar wind/IMF parameters and spacecraft position are obtained for the middle magnetotail, X=(–15,–35)RE, using 3.5 years of simultaneous Geotail and Wind spacecraft observations. For the first time it was done separately for different states of magnetotail including the substorm onset (SO) epoch, the steady magnetospheric convection (SMC) and quiet periods (Q). In the explored distance range the magnetotail parameters appeared to be similar (within the error bar) for Q and SMC states, whereas at SO their values are considerably larger. In particular, the tail radius is larger by 1–3 RE at substorm onset than during Q and SMC states, for which the radius value is close to previous magnetopause model values. The calculated lobe magnetic flux value at substorm onset is ~1GWb, exceeding that at Q (SMC) states by ~50%. The model magnetic flux values at substorm onset and SMC show little dependence on the solar wind dynamic pressure and distance in the tail, so the magnetic flux value can serve as an important discriminator of the state of the middle magnetotail.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (solar windmagnetosphere- interactions, magnetotail, storms and substorms)