Articles | Volume 22, issue 10
03 Nov 2004
 | 03 Nov 2004

Detailed dayside auroral morphology as a function of local time for southeast IMF orientation: implications for solar wind-magnetosphere coupling

P. E. Sandholt, C. J. Farrugia, and W. F. Denig

Abstract. In two case studies we elaborate on spatial and temporal structures of the dayside aurora within 08:00-16:00 magnetic local time (MLT) and discuss the relationship of this structure to solar wind-magnetosphere interconnection topology and the different stages of evolution of open field lines in the Dungey convection cycle. The detailed 2-D auroral morphology is obtained from continuous ground observations at Ny Ålesund (76° magnetic latitude (MLAT)), Svalbard during two days when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is directed southeast (By>0; Bz<0). The auroral activity consists of the successive activations of the following forms: (i) latitudinally separated, sunward moving, arcs/bands of dayside boundary plasma sheet (BPS) origin, in the prenoon (08:00-11:00 MLT) and postnoon (12:00-16:00 MLT) sectors, within 70-75° MLAT, (ii) poleward moving auroral forms (PMAFs) emanating from the pre- and postnoon brightening events, and (iii) a specific activity appearing in the 07:00-10:00 MLT/75-80° MLAT during the prevailing IMF By>0 conditions. The pre- and postnoon activations are separated by a region of strongly attenuated auroral activity/intensity within the 11:00-12:00 MLT sector, often referred to as the midday gap aurora. The latter aurora is attributed to the presence of component reconnection at the subsolar magnetopause where the stagnant magnetosheath flow lead to field-aligned currents (FACs) which are of only moderate intensity. The much more active and intense aurorae in the prenoon (07:00-11:00 MLT) and postnoon (12:00-16:00 MLT) sectors originate in magnetopause reconnection events that are initiated well away from the subsolar point. The high-latitude auroral activity in the prenoon sector (feature iii) is found to be accompanied by a convection channel at the polar cap boundary. The associated ground magnetic deflection (DPY) is a Svalgaard-Mansurov effect. The convection channel is attributed to effective momentum transfer from the solar wind-magnetosphere dynamo in the high-latitude boundary layer (HBL), on the downstream side of the cusp.