A Dual-Satellite Study of the Spatial Properties Of Ftes

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. M. A. Saunders1,
  2. C. T. Russell2 and
  3. N. Sckopke3

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0145

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

How to Cite

Saunders, M. A., Russell, C. T. and Sckopke, N. (1984) A Dual-Satellite Study of the Spatial Properties Of Ftes, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0145

Author Information

  1. 1

    Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London Sw7 2Bz, England

  2. 2

    Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University Of California, Los Angeles, California 90024

  3. 3

    Max-Planck-Institut FüR Physik Und Astrophysik, Institut FüR Extraterrestrische Physik, 8046 Garching, Federal Republic of Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223



  • Dual-satellite;
  • Fast plasma analyser (FPA);
  • Flux transfer event (FTE);
  • Magnetometer measurements;
  • Magnetosheath


Reconnection at the Earth's dayside magnetopause may manifest itself primarily as a localised and transient process called a flux transfer event (FTE). We have investigated directly the spatial properties of FTEs by examining data from the ISEE satellite pair when the satellites were separated by more than 1000 km in the vicinity of the magnetopause. We show examples of magnetosheath and boundary layer FTEs, each having a dimension normal to the magnetopause of order an Earth radius, RE, and we substantiate statistically this scale size result for magnetosheath FTEs. When combined with other information, a 1 RE normal dimension implies that the voltage associated with the FTE process at one magnetopause location is at least 10 kV. Our study strengthens the view that the magnetic field comprising an FTE is twisted, this twisting appearing to be continuous in sense across the magnetopause and corresponding to a core field-aligned current of magnitude a few × 105A. We observe changes in plasma flow speed and direction associated with FTEs. The transverse field and flow perturbations accompanying the three magnetosheath FTEs studied here satisfy approximately the Walén relation, the relation which describes a propagating AIfvén wave.