Magnetic conjugacy of northern and southern auroral beads



[1] Auroral beads, i.e., azimuthally arrayed bright spots resembling a pearl necklace, have recently drawn attention as a possible precursor of auroral substorms. We used simultaneous, ground-based, all-sky camera observations from a geomagnetically conjugate Iceland-Syowa Station pair to demonstrate that the auroral beads, whose wavelength is ∼30–50 km, evolve synchronously in the northern and southern hemispheres and have remarkable interhemispheric similarities. In both hemispheres: 1) they appeared almost at the same time; 2) their longitudinal wave number was similar ∼300–400, corresponding bead separation being ∼1° in longitude; 3) they started developing into a larger scale spiral form at the same time; 4) their propagation speeds and their temporal evolution were almost identical. These interhemispheric similarities provide strong evidence that there is a common driver in the magnetotail equatorial region that controls the major temporal evolution of the auroral beads; thus, the magnetosphere plays a primary role in structuring the initial brightening arc in this scale size.