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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 24, issue 7
Ann. Geophys., 24, 1949–1956, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1949-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 24, 1949–1956, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1949-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  09 Aug 2006

09 Aug 2006

Reconnection and energetic particles at the edge of the exterior cusp

T. Asikainen and K. Mursula T. Asikainen and K. Mursula
  • Department of Physical Sciences, PoBox 3000, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland

Abstract. In this paper we study flux transfer events (FTE) observed at the post-noon edge of the exterior cusp region by Cluster satellites. During the outbound dayside orbit on 2 February 2003, intense bursts of energetic particles were observed in close conjuction with magnetic field FTE signatures by the RAPID instrument onboard the Cluster 4. The pitch-angle distribution of the particles showed that the enhancements consist of particles flowing antiparallel to the magnetosheath field lines away from the expected reconnection site to the exterior cusp. At the same time Cluster 3 observed enhancements of energetic particles deeper in the exterior cusp with a delay of about 40 s to the Cluster 4 enhancements. The estimated maximum energy gain per particle by reconnection remains below 1 keV, thus clearly below the tens to hundreds of keV energy range observed by the RAPID instrument. These observations support the earlier statistical result of the magnetospheric origin of energetic particles in the exterior cusp. Reconnection near the exterior cusp partly releases the particles in the closed field lines of the adjacent HLPS region into the exterior cusp.

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