Magnetospheric responses to sudden and quasiperiodic solar wind variations

K. H. Kim, C. A. Cattell, D. H. Lee, K. Takahashi, K. Yumoto, K. Shiokawa, F. S. Mozer, M. Andre

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[1] On April 13 (day 103), 2001, 0700-1400 UT, the Polar satellite experienced different plasma regimes (i.e., magnetosphere, magnetosheath, and solar wind) because of the solar wind dynamic pressure variations and its high orbital inclination near the subsolar magnetopause meridian. When Polar was in the magnetosheath, quasiperiodic spacecraft potential (SP) variations, corresponding to density variations, with a recurrence time of ~3-10 min were observed. Using simultaneous solar Wind observations, it was confirmed that the magnetosheath SP variations were inherent in the solar wind. We observed an almost one-to-one correspondence between the SP variations and the geomagnetic field perturbations at lower latitudes (L = 1.1-2.8) on the nightside. At higher latitudes (L = 2.9-6.1) on the dayside, however, the field perturbations are more complicated than the magnetosheath SP variations. This suggests that if the magnetospheric perturbations produced by the external source (solar wind/magnetosheath pressure variations) deeply penetrate into the magnetosphere, the lower-latitude data on the nightside are important to monitor the external source variations. In addition, we observed the radial electric field oscillations excited nearly simultaneously with the magnetic field enhancement, associated with a sudden increase in the solar wind dynamic pressure, when Polar was in the magnetosphere. These oscillations may be considered as transient standing Alfvén waves excited by externally applied pressure changes as reported by previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1406
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA11
StatePublished - Nov 2002


  • Magnetosheath
  • Magnetosphere
  • Magnetospheric response
  • Solar wind
  • Spacecraft potential


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