IMF cone angle control of the magnetopause location: Statistical study

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Abstract

[1] We investigate the dependence of the magnetopause location on the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) cone angle (the angle between the IMF and solar wind velocity vectors) in a statistical study based on ≈6500 magnetopause crossings observed by the five THEMIS spacecraft, both at the dayside and flanks. To remove other well-known effects, we analyze the difference between observed magnetopause radial distances and those predicted by an empirical magnetopause model (scalable by the solar wind dynamic pressure and IMF BZ component). The results demonstrate a systematic increase of the magnetopause distance for radial IMF directions, from ≈0.3 RE at 90° to ≈1.7 RE at 0° or 180° cone angle. Moreover, a stronger dependence of the magnetopause location on the solar wind dynamic pressure than predicted by the current models was observed.

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