Articles | Volume 30, issue 5
Regular paper
03 May 2012
Regular paper |  | 03 May 2012

Observations of magnetic flux ropes during magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail

A. L. Borg, M. G. G. T. Taylor, and J. P. Eastwood

Abstract. We present an investigation of magnetic flux ropes observed by the four Cluster spacecraft during periods of magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail. Using a list of 21 Cluster encounters with the reconnection process in the period 2001–2006 identified in Borg et al. (2012), we present the distribution and characteristics of the flux ropes. We find 27 flux ropes embedded in the reconnection outflows of only 11 of the 21 reconnection encounters. Reconnection processes associated with no flux rope observations were not distinguishable from those where flux ropes were observed. Only 7 of the 27 flux ropes show evidence of enhanced energetic electron flux above 50 keV, and there was no clear signature of the flux rope in the thermal particle measurements. We found no clear correlation between the flux rope core field and the prevailing IMF By direction.