© European Geosciences Union 2006
Indirect mapping of the source of the oppositely directed fast plasma flows in the plasma sheet onto the auroral display
1Polar Geophysical Institute, Kola Science Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, Russia
2Institute of Physics, Sankt-Petersburg State University, Sankt-Petersburg, Russia
3Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
Abstract. Data from Polar and Geotail spacecraft are combined to investigate the relationship between locations of active auroras and the magnetotail plasma sheet region where reversed fast plasma flows are generated during substorms. Using the magnetospheric magnetic field model, it is shown that at the beginning of the tailward fast flow the ionospheric footprint of the spacecraft measuring the flow tends to be located poleward of the auroral bulge. The spacecraft within the earthward flow is mapped equatorward of the poleward edge of the auroral bulge. We conclude that a source of the fast plasma flows is conjugated with the poleward edge of the auroral bulge. Analysis of the behavior of the plasma and the magnetic field in the vicinity of the source of the diverging flows allows us to conclude that the source region, interpreted as the magnetic reconnection site, coincides with the region of the cross-tail current reduction, and the tailward propagation of the region is associated with the tailward propagation of the current disruption front.