DE-2 Observations of Filamentary Currents at Ionospheric Altitudes

  1. C. T. Russell,
  2. E. R. Priest and
  3. L. C. Lee
  1. M. F. Smith1,
  2. J. D. Winningham1,
  3. J. A. Slavin2 and
  4. M. Lockwood3

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM058p0591

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

How to Cite

Smith, M. F., Winningham, J. D., Slavin, J. A. and Lockwood, M. (1990) DE-2 Observations of Filamentary Currents at Ionospheric Altitudes, in Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes (eds C. T. Russell, E. R. Priest and L. C. Lee), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM058p0591

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Space Sciences, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78228

  2. 2

    Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

  3. 3

    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900261

Online ISBN: 9781118663868



  • Solar photosphere;
  • Magnetic flux;
  • Astrophysics


Conjunctive measurements made by the Dynamics Explorer 1 and 2 spacecraft on October 22, 1981, under conditions of southward IMF, suggest the existence of a cusp ion injection from a region at the magnetopause with a scale size of ∼ 1/2 to 1 R E . Current signatures observed by the LAPI and MAGB instruments on board DE-2 indicate the existence of a rotation in the magnetic field that is consistent with a filamentary current system. The observed current structure can be interpreted as the ionospheric signature of a flux transfer event (FTE). In addition to this large-scale current structure there exist three small-scale filamentary current pairs. These current pairs close locally and thus, if our interpretation of this event as an FTE is correct, represent the first reported observations of FTE interior structure at low-altitudes.