Articles | Volume 26, issue 3
26 Mar 2008
 | 26 Mar 2008

Structure of the near-Earth plasma sheet during tailward flows

A. Runov, I. Voronkov, Y. Asano, W. Baumjohann, M. Fujimoto, R. Nakamura, T. Takada, M. Volwerk, Z. Vörös, M. Meurant, A. Fazakerley, H. Rème, and A. Balogh

Abstract. A detailed analysis of successive tailward flow bursts in the near-Earth magnetotail (X~−19 RE) plasma sheet is performed on the basis of in-situ multi-point observations by the Cluster spacecraft on 15 September 2001. The tailward flows were detected during a northward IMF interval, 2.5 h after a substorm expansion. Each flow burst (Vx<300 km/s) was associated with local auroral activation. Enhancements of the parallel and anti-parallel ~1 keV electron flux were detected during the flows. The spacecraft configuration enables to monitor the neutral sheet (Bx≈0) and the level of Bx≈10–15 nT simultaneously, giving a possibility to distinguish between closed plasmoid-like structures and open NFTE-like surges. The data analysis shows NFTE-like structures and localized current filaments embedded into the tailward plasma flow. 3-D shapes of the structures were reconstructed using the four-point magnetic filed measurements and the particle data.