Journal cover Journal topic
Annales Geophysicae An open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Ann. Geophys., 13, 926-937, 1995
© European Geosciences Union 1995
30 Sep 1995
Long duration Pc 5 compressional pulsations inside the Earth's magnetotail lobes
D. V. Sarafopoulos Abstract. Pc 5-type magnetic field pulsations are detected by the IMP-8 spacecraft well inside the Earth's magnetotail lobes. The three studied events with an average duration of 3 h and mean amplitude of ΔB/B=6.6% show a strong longitudinal oscillation. The clockwise polarization sense of the magnetic field arrowheads in the north lobe (as well as the counterclockwise in the south lobe) on the XZ plane is consistent with that expected when periodic solar wind lateral pressures squeeze the magnetotail axisymmetrically while moving tailward. In the two case studies, the latter property has been found to concur with quasi-periodic upstream density fluctuations detected by ISEE-3 and/or ISSE-1. The lobe magnetic field oscillations are classified in two distinct modes. The manifestations of the first mode are tailward-travelling waves detectable along the By and Bz magnetic field traces (i.e., with regard to the Bz the spacecraft encounters constantly the same conspicuous signature of south-then-north tilting of field lines around each local compression region). The second mode is associated with prolonged periods of extremely low geomagnetic activity and exhibits a signature along the By component inconsistent with travelling waves. Thus, the maxima of compressions occur simultaneously with the maxima of By excursions: a feature that is explained in terms of tail-aligned current density flowing at the boundary which separates the stable magnetic field in the tail lobe from the very irregular in the magnetosheath. In this case, the spacecraft was located in the vicinity of the high-latitude tail boundary and the observed By excursions are consistent with those anticipated by the tail-aligned current polarity, which is determined by the dominant By-component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). On the plane YZ we observe an almost linear and circular polarization sense of the vector magnetic field for the first and second mode, respectively.

Citation: Sarafopoulos, D. V.: Long duration Pc 5 compressional pulsations inside the Earth's magnetotail lobes, Ann. Geophys., 13, 926-937,, 1995.
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