Plasma Sheet Behavior During Substorms
- Edward W. Hones Jr.
Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
Copyright 1984 by the American Geophysical Union.
Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas
How to Cite
Hones, E. W. (1984) Plasma Sheet Behavior During Substorms, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0178
- Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
- Published Print: 1 JAN 1984
Print ISBN: 9780875900582
Online ISBN: 9781118664223
- Auroral sbstorms;
- Iterplanetary magnetic field (IMF);
- Magnetic substorms;
Auroral or magnetic substorms are periods of enhanced auroral and geomagnetic activity lasting one to a few hours that signify increased dissipation of energy from the magnetosphere to the earth. Data acquired during the past decade from satellites in the near-earth sector of the magnetotail have suggested that during a substorm part of the plasma sheet is severed from earth by magnetic reconnection, forming a “plasmoid,” i.e., a body of plasma and closed magnetic loops, that flows out of the tail into the solar wind, thus returning plasma and energy that have earlier been accumulated from the solar wind. Very recently this picture has been dramatically confirmed by observations, with the ISEE 3 spacecraft in the magnetotail 220 RE from earth, of plasmoids passing that location in clear delayed response to substorms. It now appears that plasmoid release is a fundamental process whereby the magnetosphere gives up excess stored energy and plasma, much like comets are seen to do, and that the phenomena of the substorm seen at earth are a by-product of that fundamental process.