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Oxygen Ion Flow Reversals in Earth's Magnetotail: A Cluster Statistical Study
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1167-8055
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2043-4442
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, ISSN 2169-9380, E-ISSN 2169-9402Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

We present a statistical study of magnetotail flows that change direction from earthward to tailward using Cluster spacecraft. More precisely, we study 318 events of particle flux enhancements in the O+ data for which the pitch angle continuously changes with time, either from 0 degrees to 180 degrees or from 180 degrees to 0 degrees. These structures are called "Pitch Angle Slope Structures" (PASSes). PASSes for which the pitch angle changes from 0 degrees to 180 degrees are observed in the Northern Hemisphere while those for which the pitch angle changes from 180 degrees to 0 degrees are observed in the Southern Hemisphere. These flux enhancements result in a reversal of the flow direction from earthward to tailward regardless of the hemisphere where they are observed. Sometimes, several PASSes can be observed consecutively which can therefore result in oscillatory velocity signatures in the earth-tail direction. The PASS occurrence rate increases from 1.8% to 3.7% as the AE index increases from similar to 0 to similar to 600 nT. Also, simultaneously to PASSes, there is typically a decrease in the magnetic field magnitude due to a decrease (increase) of the sunward component of the magnetic field in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere. Finally, based on the 115 (out of 318) PASSes that show energy-dispersed structures, the distance to the source from the spacecraft is estimated to be typically R-E along the magnetic field line. This study is important as it sheds light on one of the causes of tailward velocities in Earth's magnetotail.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Earth's magnetotail, oxygen ions, velocity reversal, pitch angle distribution, Cluster, field aligned
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-166575DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027054ISI: 000497604100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-166575DiVA, id: diva2:1380617
Available from: 2019-12-19 Created: 2019-12-19 Last updated: 2019-12-19

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De Spiegeleer, AlexandreHamrin, MariaGunell, HerbertChong, Ghai SiungPitkänen, Timo

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