Articles | Volume 23, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2877–2887, 2005

Special issue: Double Star - First Results

Ann. Geophys., 23, 2877–2887, 2005

  08 Nov 2005

08 Nov 2005

Simultaneous Double Star and Cluster FTEs observations on the dawnside flank of the magnetosphere

A. Marchaudon1, C. J. Owen1, J.-M. Bosqued2, R. C. Fear1, A. N. Fazakerley1, M. W. Dunlop3, A. D. Lahiff1, C. Carr4, A. Balogh4, P.-A. Lindqvist5, and H. Rème2 A. Marchaudon et al.
  • 1Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, RH5 6NT, UK
  • 2Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, CESR/CNRS, B.P. 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex, France
  • 3Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 0QX, UK
  • 4Space and Atmospheric Physics, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London, SW7 2BZ, UK
  • 5Alfvén Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 10044, Sweden

Abstract. We present Cluster and Double Star-1 (TC-1) observations from a close magnetic conjunction on 8 May 2004. The five spacecraft were on the dawnside flank of the magnetosphere, with TC-1 located near the equatorial plane and Cluster at higher geographic latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. TC-1, at its apogee, skimmed the magnetopause for almost 8h (between 08:00-16:00 UT). Flux Transfer Events (FTEs), moving southward/tailward from the reconnection site, were observed by TC-1 throughout almost all of the period. Cluster, travelling on a mainly dawn-dusk trajectory, crossed the magnetopause at around 10:30 UT in the same Magnetic Local Time (MLT) sector as TC-1 and remained close to the magnetopause boundary layer in the Southern Hemisphere. The four Cluster spacecraft observed FTEs for a period of 6.5h between 07:30 and 14:00 UT.

The very clear signatures and the finite transverse sizes of the FTEs observed by TC-1 and Cluster imply that, during this event, sporadic reconnection occurred. From the properties of these FTEs, the reconnection site was located northward of both TC-1 and Cluster on the dawn flank of the magnetosphere. Reconnection occurred between draped magnetosheath and closed magnetospheric field lines. Despite variable interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) conditions and IMF-Bz turnings, the IMF clock angle remained greater than 70° and the location site appeared to remain relatively stable in position during the whole period. This result is in agreement with previous studies which reported that the dayside reconnection remained active for an IMF clock angle greater than 70°. The simultaneous observation of FTEs at both Cluster and TC-1, separated by 2h in MLT, implies that the reconnection site on the magnetopause must have been extended over several hours in MLT.