Articles | Volume 24, issue 10
20 Oct 2006
 | 20 Oct 2006

Evidence of standing waves during a Pi2 pulsation event observed on Cluster

A. B. Collier, A. R. W. Hughes, L. G. Blomberg, and P. R. Sutcliffe

Abstract. Observations of Pi2 pulsations at middle and low latitudes have been explained in terms of cavity mode resonances, whereas transients associated with field-aligned currents appear to be responsible for the high latitude Pi2 signature.

Data from Cluster are used to study a Pi2 event observed at 18:09 UTC on 21 January 2003, when three of the satellites were within the plasmasphere (L=4.7, 4.5 and 4.6) while the fourth was on the plasmapause or in the plasmatrough (L=6.6). Simultaneous pulsations at ground observatories and the injection of particles at geosynchronous orbit corroborate the occurrence of a substorm.

Evidence of a cavity mode resonance is established by considering the phase relationship between the orthogonal electric and magnetic field components associated with radial and field-aligned standing waves. The relative phase between satellites located on either side of the geomagnetic equator indicates that the field-aligned oscillation is an odd harmonic. Finite azimuthal Poynting flux suggests that the cavity is effectively open ended and the azimuthal wave number is estimated as m~13.5.