Plasma penetration of the dayside magnetopause

H. Gunell, H. Nilsson, G. Stenberg, M. Hamrin, T. Karlsson, R. Maggiolo, M. André, R. Lundin, I. Dandouras
2012 Physics of Plasmas  
Data from the Cluster spacecraft during their magnetopause crossing on 25 January 2002 are presented. The magnetopause was in a state of slow non-oscillatory motion during the observational period. Coherent structures of magnetosheath plasma, here typified as plasmoids, were seen on closed magnetic field lines on the inside of the magnetopause. Using simultaneous measurements on two spacecraft the inward motion of the plasmoids is followed from one spacecraft to the next, and it is found to be
more » ... n agreement with the measured ion velocity. The plasma characteristics and the direction of motion of the plasmoids show that they have penetrated the magnetopause, and the observations are consistent with the concept of impulsive penetration, as it is known from theory, simulations, and laboratory experiments. The mean flux across the magnetopause observed was 0.2-0.5% of the solar wind flux at the time, and the peak values of the flux inside the plasmoids reached approximately 20% of the solar wind flux.
doi:10.1063/1.4739446 fatcat:iujix52u3vd7flkcyt2wysfqvq