Multisatellite investigations of substorm onsets

W. J. Hughes, D. P. Smits, C. A. Cattell, C. T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Substorm onsets, identified by Pi2 pulsations observed on the AFGL Magnetometer Network, have been studied using ISEE 1 electric and magnetic field data and GOES 2 and GOES 3 magnetic field data. The relative positions of the spacecraft with respect to the substorm current system were determined from the Pi2 polarizations. One onset occurred when ISEE 1 and GOES 2 were on the same field line but in opposite hemispheres. During this onset ISEE 1 and GOES 2 observed magnetic signatures which appear to be due to conjugate field-aligned-currents flowing out of the western edge of the westward electrojets. A broadband burst of wave noise was seen in the ISEE 1 electric field at the same time as field-aligned-currents were observed. These may be current driven ion cyclotron waves. A three minute perturbation in the electric field data prior to the initial substorm onset indicates that there was an azimuthal westward flow of plasma starting ∼ 1 min before the substorm onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985


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