Articles | Volume 31, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 31, 1045–1059, 2013

Special issue: Dynamical processes in space plasmas II

Ann. Geophys., 31, 1045–1059, 2013

Review paper 13 Jun 2013

Review paper | 13 Jun 2013

Dynamical processes in space: Cluster results

C. P. Escoubet1, M. G. G. T. Taylor1, A. Masson1, H. Laakso1, J. Volpp2, M. Hapgood3, and M. L. Goldstein4 C. P. Escoubet et al.
  • 1ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
  • 2ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany
  • 3RAL Space/STFC, Harwell Oxford, UK
  • 4NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Abstract. After 12 years of operations, the Cluster mission continues to successfully fulfil its scientific objectives. The main goal of the Cluster mission, comprised of four identical spacecraft, is to study in three dimensions small-scale plasma structures in key plasma regions of the Earth's environment: solar wind and bow shock, magnetopause, polar cusps, magnetotail, plasmasphere and auroral zone. During the course of the mission, the relative distance between the four spacecraft has been varied from 20 km to 36 000 km to study the scientific regions of interest at different scales. Since summer 2005, new multi-scale constellations have been implemented, wherein three spacecraft (C1, C2, C3) are separated by 10 000 km, while the fourth one (C4) is at a variable distance ranging between 20 km and 10 000 km from C3. Recent observations were conducted in the auroral acceleration region with the spacecraft separated by 1000s km. We present highlights of the results obtained during the last 12 years on collisionless shocks, magnetopause waves, magnetotail dynamics, plasmaspheric structures, and the auroral acceleration region. In addition, we highlight Cluster results on understanding the impact of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) on the Earth environment. We will also present Cluster data accessibility through the Cluster Science Data System (CSDS), and the Cluster Active Archive (CAA), which was implemented to provide a permanent and public archive of high resolution Cluster data from all instruments.