Location and characteristics of the reconnection X line deduced from low-altitude satellite and ground-based observations: 1. Theory
Lockwood, M. (1995) Location and characteristics of the reconnection X line deduced from low-altitude satellite and ground-based observations: 1. Theory. Journal of Geophysical Research, 100 (A11). p. 21791. ISSN 0148-0227
To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/95JA01340
A method for estimating both the Alfvén speed and the field-aligned flow of the magnetosheath at the magnetopause reconnection site is presented. The method employs low-altitude cusp ion observations and requires the identification of a feature in the cusp ion spectra near the low-energy cutoff which will often be present for a low-latitude dayside reconnection site. The appearance of these features in data of limited temporal, energy, and pitch angle resolution is illustrated by using model calculations of cusp ion distribution functions. These are based on the theory of ion acceleration at the dayside magnetopause and allow for the effects on the spectrum of flight times of ions precipitating down newly opened field lines. In addition, the variation of the reconnection rate can be evaluated, and comparison with ground-based observations of the corresponding sequence of transient events allows the field-aligned distance from the ionosphere to the reconnection site to be estimated.