Articles | Volume 27, issue 5
04 May 2009
 | 04 May 2009

Longitudinal development of a substorm brightening arc

K. Shiokawa, A. Ieda, A. Nakajima, K. Sakaguchi, R. Nomura, T. Aslaksen, M. Greffen, E. Spanswick, E. Donovan, S. B. Mende, J. McFadden, K.-H. Glassmeier, V. Angelopoulos, and Y. Miyashita

Abstract. We present simultaneous THEMIS-ground observations of longitudinal (eastward) extension of a substorm initial-brightening arc at Gillam (magnetic latitude: 65.6°) at 08:13 UT on 10 January 2008. The speed of the eastward arc extension was ~2.7 km/s. The extension took place very close to the footprints of the longitudinally separated THEMIS E and D satellites at ~12 RE. The THEMIS satellites observed field dipolarization, weak earthward flow, and pressure increase, which propagated eastward from E to D at a speed of ~50 km/s. The THEMIS A satellite, located at 1.6 RE earthward of THEMIS E, observed fluctuating magnetic field during and after the dipolarization. The THEMIS E/D observations suggest that the longitudinal extension of the brightening arc at substorm onset is caused by earthward flow braking processes which produce field dipolarization and pressure increase propagating in longitude in the near-earth plasma sheet.