ISEE-1 and 2 observations from about 20 Re down the near-Earth magnetotail indicate the presence of magnetic flux ropes in the neutral sheet. Magnetic and electric field and fast plasma data show that these structures convect across the spacecraft at speeds of 200-600-km/s, and have scale sizes of roughly 3-5-Re. The rope axis orientation is approximately cross-tail. Their magnetic structure is similar to Venus ionospheric flux ropes, and to flux transfer events at the dayside magnetopause. These structures may arise from patchy reconnection or tearing mode reconnection within the plasma sheet.
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This work was supported by NASA grants NAS5—28448 and NAG5—375.