Ionospheric signatures of pulsed reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause
Lockwood, M., Denig, W. F., Farmer, A. D., Davda, V. N., Cowley, S. W. H. and Lühr, H. (1993) Ionospheric signatures of pulsed reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause. Nature, 361 (6411). pp. 424-428. ISSN 0028-0836
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1038/361424a0
THE plasma precipitating into the Earth's dayside auroral atmosphere has characteristics which show that it originates from the shocked solar-wind plasma of the magnetosheath1'2. The particles of the magnetosheath plasma precipitate down a funnel-shaped region (cusp) of open field lines resulting from reconnection of the geomagnetic field with the interplanetary magnetic field3. Although the cusp has long been considered a well defined spatial structure maintained by continuous reconnection, it has recently been suggested4–6 that reconnection instead may take place in a series of discontinuous events; this is the ‘pulsating cusp model’. Here we present coordinated radar and satellite observations of a series of discrete, poleward-moving plasma structures that are consistent with the pulsating-cusp model.