Earth's magnetospheric cusps
Smith, M. F. and Lockwood, M. (1996) Earth's magnetospheric cusps. Reviews of Geophysics, 34 (2). p. 233. ISSN 8755-1209
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/96RG00893
Earth's cusps are magnetic field features in the magnetosphere associated with regions through which plasma from the Sun can have direct access to the upper atmosphere. Recently, new ground-based observations, combined with in situ satellite measurements, have led the way in reinterpreting cusp signatures. These observations, combined with theoretical advances, have stimulated new interest in the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling chain. This coupling process is important because it causes both momentum and energy from the solar wind to enter into the near-Earth region. Here we describe the current ideas concerning the cusps and the supporting observational evidence which have evolved over the past 30 years. We include discussion on the plasma entry process, particle motion between the magnetopause and ionosphere, ground optical and radar measurements, and transient events. We also review the important questions that remain to be answered.