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The location and rate of dayside reconnection during an interval of southward interplanetary magnetic field

Author(s): M. Pinnock | G. Chisham | I. J. Coleman | M. P. Freeman | M. Hairston | J.-P. Villain

Journal: Annales Geophysicae
ISSN 0992-7689

Volume: 21;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 1467;
Date: 0000;
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Using ionospheric data from the SuperDARN radar network and a DMSP satellite we obtain a comprehensive description of the spatial and temporal pattern of day-side reconnection. During a period of southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), the data are used to determine the location of the ionospheric projection of the dayside magnetopause reconnection X-line. From the flow of plasma across the projected X-line, we derive the reconnection rate across 7 h of longitude and estimate it for the total length of the X-line footprint, which was found to be 10 h of longitude. Using the Tsyganenko 96 magnetic field model, the ionospheric data are mapped to the magnetopause, in order to provide an estimate of the extent of the reconnection X-line. This is found to be ~ 38 RE in extent, spanning the whole dayside magnetopause from dawn to dusk flank. Our results are compared with previously reported encounters by the Equator-S and Geotail spacecraft with a reconnecting magnetopause, near the dawn flank, for the same period. The SuperDARN observations allow the satellite data to be set in the context of the whole magnetopause reconnection X-line. The total potential associated with dayside reconnection was ~ 150 kV. The reconnection signatures detected by the Equator-S satellite mapped to a region in the ionosphere showing continuous flow across the polar cap boundary, but the reconnection rate was variable and showed a clear spatial variation, with a distinct minimum at 14:00 magnetic local time which was present throughout the 30-min study period.Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetopause, cusp and boundary layers; magnetosphere-ionoshere interactions) – Space plasma physics (magnetic reconnection)
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