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Arridge C.S.,Lancaster University | Jasinski J.M.,Birkbeck, University of London | Achilleos N.,Birkbeck, University of London | Bogdanova Y.V.,Rutherford Appleton Laboratory | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics | Year: 2016

The magnetospheric cusps are important sites of the coupling of a magnetosphere with the solar wind. The combination of both ground- and space-based observations at Earth has enabled considerable progress to be made in understanding the terrestrial cusp and its role in the coupling of the magnetosphere to the solar wind via the polar magnetosphere. Voyager 2 fully explored Neptune's cusp in 1989, but highly inclined orbits of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn present the most recent opportunity to repeatedly study the polar magnetosphere of a rapidly rotating planet. In this paper we discuss observations made by Cassini during two passes through Saturn's southern polar magnetosphere. Our main findings are that (i) Cassini directly encounters the southern polar cusp with evidence for the entry of magnetosheath plasma into the cusp via magnetopause reconnection, (ii) magnetopause reconnection and entry of plasma into the cusp can occur over a range of solar wind conditions, and (iii) double cusp morphologies are consistent with the position of the cusp oscillating in phase with Saturn's global magnetospheric periodicities. ©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Schmid D.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Nakamura R.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Volwerk M.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Plaschke F.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | And 14 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2016

We present a statistical study of dipolarization fronts (DFs), using magnetic field data from MMS and Cluster, at radial distances below 12 RE and 20 RE, respectively. Assuming that the DFs have a semicircular cross section and are propelled by the magnetic tension force, we used multispacecraft observations to determine the DF velocities. About three quarters of the DFs propagate earthward and about one quarter tailward. Generally, MMS is in a more dipolar magnetic field region and observes larger-amplitude DFs than Cluster. The major findings obtained in this study are as follows: (1) At MMS ∼57 % of the DFs move faster than 150 km/s, while at Cluster only ∼35 %, indicating a variable flux transport rate inside the flow-braking region. (2) Larger DF velocities correspond to higher Bz values directly ahead of the DFs. We interpret this as a snow plow-like phenomenon, resulting from a higher magnetic flux pileup ahead of DFs with higher velocities. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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