Opportunities for magnetospheric research with coordinated cluster and ground-based observations
Opgenoorth, H. J. and Lockwood, M. (1997) Opportunities for magnetospheric research with coordinated cluster and ground-based observations. Space Science Reviews, 79 (1/2). pp. 599-637. ISSN 0038-6308
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1023/A:1004910721860
ESA’s first multi-satellite mission Cluster is unique in its concept of 4 satellites orbiting in controlled formations. This will give an unprecedented opportunity to study structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere. In this paper we discuss ways in which ground-based remote-sensing observations of the ionosphere can be used to support the multipoint in-situ satellite measurements. There are a very large number of potentially useful configurations between the satellites and any one ground-based observatory; however, the number of ideal occurrences for any one configuration is low. Many of the ground-based instruments cannot operate continuously and Cluster will take data only for a part of each orbit, depending on how much high-resolution (‘burst-mode’) data are acquired. In addition, there are a great many instrument modes and the formation, size and shape of the cluster of the four satellites to consider. These circumstances create a clear and pressing need for careful planning to ensure that the scientific return from Cluster is maximised by additional coordinated ground-based observations. For this reason, ESA established a working group to coordinate the observations on the ground with Cluster. We will give a number of examples how the combined spacecraft and ground-based observations can address outstanding questions in magnetospheric physics. An online computer tool has been prepared to allow for the planning of conjunctions and advantageous constellations between the Cluster spacecraft and individual or combined ground-based systems. During the mission a ground-based database containing index and summary data will help to identify interesting datasets and allow to select intervals for coordinated studies. We illustrate the philosophy of our approach, using a few important examples of the many possible configurations between the satellite and the ground-based instruments.