Reconnection at the high-latitude magnetopause during northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions
Onsager, T. G., Scudder, J. D., Lockwood, M. and Russell, C. T. (2001) Reconnection at the high-latitude magnetopause during northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106 (A11). pp. 25467-25488. ISSN 0148-0227
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2000JA000444
The Polar spacecraft had a prolonged encounter with the high-latitude dayside magnetopause on May 29, 1996. This encounter with the magnetopause occurred when the interplanetary magnetic field was directed northward. From the three-dimensional electron and ion distribution functions measured by the Hydra instrument, it has been possible to identify nearly all of the distinct boundary layer regions associated with high-latitude reconnection. The regions that have been identified are (1) the cusp; (2) the magnetopause current layer; (3) magnetosheath field lines that have interconnected in only the Northern Hemisphere; (4) magnetosheath field lines that have interconnected in only the Southern Hemisphere; (5) magnetosheath field lines that have interconnected in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres; (6) magnetosheath that is disconnected from the terrestrial magnetic field; and (7) high-latitude plasma sheet field lines that are participating in magnetosheath reconnection. Reconnection over this time period was occurring at high latitudes over a broad local-time extent, interconnecting the magnetosheath and lobe and/or plasma sheet field lines in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Newly closed boundary layer field lines were observed as reconnection occur-red first at high latitudes in one hemisphere and then later in the other. These observations establish the location of magnetopause reconnection during these northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions as being at high latitudes, poleward of the cusp, and further reinforce the general interpretation of electron and ion phase space density signatures as indicators of magnetic reconnection and boundary layer formation.