Plasma Sheet Behavior During Substorms

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0178

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

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

Author Information

  1. University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223

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Keywords:

  • Auroral sbstorms;
  • Iterplanetary magnetic field (IMF);
  • Magnetic substorms;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Substorms

Summary

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.