Articles | Volume 27, issue 1
06 Jan 2009
 | 06 Jan 2009

Plasmoid formation for multiple onset substorms: observations of the Japanese Lunar Mission "Kaguya"

T. Nagai, H. Tsunakawa, H. Shibuya, F. Takahashi, H. Shimizu, M. Matsushima, M. N. Nishino, Y. Yokota, K. Asamura, T. Tanaka, Y. Saito, and O. Amm

Abstract. The Japanese Lunar Mission "Kaguya" carried out its first magnetic field and plasma measurements in the Earth's magnetotail on 22 December 2007. Fortuitously, three well-defined multiple onset substoms took place. Kaguya was located in the premidnight magnetotail at radial distances of 56 RE and observed plasmoids and/or traveling compression regions (TCRs). Although the present study is based on limited data sets, important issues on multiple onset substorms can be examined. Each onset in a series of onsets releases a plasmoid, and magnetic reconnection likely proceeds to tail lobe field lines for each onset. Since the duration of each plasmoid is less than 5 min, these observations imply that magnetic reconnection for each onset can develop fully to the tail lobe field lines and be quenched within this timescale.