Articles | Volume 27, issue 8
03 Aug 2009
 | 03 Aug 2009

Magnetosheath excursion and the relevant transport process at the magnetopause

C. L. Cai, I. Dandouras, H. Rème, J. B. Cao, G. C. Zhou, C. Shen, G. K. Parks, and D. Fontaine

Abstract. A large-amplitude excursion of the magnetosheath (MS) in quiet solar wind conditions on 17 March 2004 was recorded simultaneously by the Cluster and TC-1 spacecraft. During this period, the IMF Bz was entirely northward. The coherence between the bow shock motion and magnetopause (MP) motion is revealed and the excursion velocities of the bow shock motion are analyzed. In addition, the relevant plasma transport phenomenon in the form of flux fluctuations below the ion gyrofrequency at the MP is exposed and is interpreted as manifestation of the drift instability. Correlated observations on charge accumulation and electrostatic potential perturbation are recorded by electron measurements in high energy regime, and also the eventual cross-field vortex motion in the nonlinear stage and the consequential mass exchange are exhibited. The present investigation gives some new insight into the MS plasma transport mechanism across the subsolar MP region in quiet solar wind conditions during a period of northward IMF.