Articles | Volume 30, issue 6
Regular paper
28 Jun 2012
Regular paper |  | 28 Jun 2012

Energetic electrons along the high-latitude magnetopause

B. M. Walsh, S. E. Haaland, P. W. Daly, E. A. Kronberg, and T. A. Fritz

Abstract. A case study is presented to determine the source of the energetic electron layer frequently observed along the high-latitude magnetopause. Measurements by the Cluster spacecraft show bursts of field-aligned electrons occurring during time periods with high potential for dayside reconnection. These properties are compared with the expected signatures from several sources including escape from the exterior cusp, acceleration in a reconnection region, and release from the dayside trapping region through reconnection. The observed properties are most consistent with the electrons being released from the magnetosphere due to reconnection. In this model the electrons would flow along the newly reconnected IMF draped along the magnetopause and propagate along the high-latitude magnetopause. These observations demonstrate an active source for populating the energetic particle layer frequently observed along and just outside the high-latitude magnetopause.