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Title: The interaction between transpolar arcs and cusp spots
Authors: Fear, R. C.
Milan, Stephen E.
Carter, J. A.
Maggiolo, R.
First Published: 4-Nov-2015
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Citation: Geophysical Research Letters, 2015, 42 (22), pp. 9685-9693
Abstract: Transpolar arcs and cusp spots are both auroral phenomena which occur when the interplanetary magnetic field is northward. Transpolar arcs are associated with magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail, which closes magnetic flux and results in a “wedge” of closed flux which remains trapped, embedded in the magnetotail lobe. The cusp spot is an indicator of lobe reconnection at the high-latitude magnetopause; in its simplest case, lobe reconnection redistributes open flux without resulting in any net change in the open flux content of the magnetosphere. We present observations of the two phenomena interacting—i.e., a transpolar arc intersecting a cusp spot during part of its lifetime. The significance of this observation is that lobe reconnection can have the effect of opening closed magnetotail flux. We argue that such events should not be rare.
DOI Link: 10.1002/2015GL066194
ISSN: 0094-8276
eISSN: 1944-8007
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2015. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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