Evidence of component merging equatorward of the cusp
Chandler, M. O., Fuselier, S. A., Lockwood, M. and Moore, T. E. (1999) Evidence of component merging equatorward of the cusp. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104 (A10). pp. 22623-22633. ISSN 0148-0227
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/1999JA900175
The Polar spacecraft passed through a region near the dayside magnetopause on May 29, 1996, at a geocentric distance of similar to 8 R-E and high, northern magnetic latitudes. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) was northward during the pass. Data from the Thermal Ion Dynamics Experiment revealed the existence of low-speed (similar to 50 km s(-1)) ion D-shaped distributions mixed with cold ions (similar to 2 eV) over a period of 2.5 hours. These ions were traveling parallel to the magnetic field toward the Northern Hemisphere ionosphere and were convecting primarily eastward. The D-shaped distributions are distinct from a convecting Maxwellian and, along with the magnetic field direction, are taken as evidence that the spacecraft was inside the magnetosphere and not in the magnetosheath. Furthermore, the absence of ions in the antiparallel direction is taken as evidence that low-shear merging was occurring at a location southward of the spacecraft and equatorward of the Southern Hemisphere cusp. The cold ions were of ionospheric origin, with initially slow field-aligned speeds, which were accelerated upon reflection from the magnetopause. These observations provide significant new evidence consistent with component magnetic merging sites equatorward of the cusp for northward IMF.