Triple crossings of a string of magnetic islands at duskside magnetopause encountered by AMPTE/IRM satellite on 8 August 1985

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Abstract

[1] There have been a number of reports on the existence of pearl-like magnetic island structures at the magnetopause current layer based on the analyses of single spacecraft data and two-dimensional reconstruction method of solving the Grad-Shafranov equation as a spatial initial value problem. This paper presents an unusual event of multiple magnetopause crossings encountered by AMPTE/IRM satellite at the duskside equatorial plane on 8 August, 1985. In a total of 11 magnetopause crossings spanning for nearly 2 hours, crossing 3, 4, and 9 display similar features of a string of magnetic islands imbedded within the overall tangential discontinuity-like current layers. In these crossings, the deHoffmann-Teller velocities form approximately 90° from the magnetopause normal that the in-and-out magnetopause motion becomes subsiding for the satellite to pick up the pearl-like plasmoids with island width of about 6–12 ion inertial length. In particular, crossing 3 and 9 are 1 hour apart but have almost the same magnetopause normal and deHoffmann-Teller velocity as well as similar invariant axis. A region of cold plasma adjacent to the magnetopause within the magnetosphere, the low-latitude boundary layer, is seen in all three crossings.

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