Observation of the magnetospheric "sash" and its implications relative to solar-wind/magnetospheric coupling: A multisatellite event analysis

N. C. Maynard, S. Savin, G. M. Erickson, H. Kawano, Z. Němeček, W. K. Peterson, J. Šafránoková, I. Sandahl, J. D. Scudder, G. L. Siscoe, B. U.Ö Sonnerup, D. R. Weimer, W. W. White, G. R. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Using a unique data set from the Wind, Polar, Interball 1, Magion 4, and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F11 satellites, comparisons with the Integrated Space Weather Model (ISM) have provided validation of the global structure predicted by the ISM model, which in turn has allowed us to use the model to interpret the data to further understand boundary layers and magnetospheric processes. The comparisons have shown that the magnetospheric "sash" [White et al, 1998], a region of low magnetic field discovered by the MHD modeling which extends along the high-latitude flank of the magnetopause, is related to the turbulent boundary layer on the high-latitude magnetopause, recently mapped by Interball 1. The sash in the data and in the model has rotational discontinuity properties, expected for a reconnection site. At some point near or behind the terminator, the sash becomes a site for reconnection of open field lines, which were previously opened by merging on the dayside. This indicates that significant reconnection in the magnetotail occurs on the flanks. Polar mapped to the high-density extension of the sash into the tilted plasma sheet. The source of the magnetosheath plasma observed by Polar on closed field lines behind the terminator was plasma entry through the low field connection of the sash to the central plasma sheet. The Polar magnetic field line footprints in each hemisphere are moving in different directions. Above and below the tilted plasma sheet the flows in the model are consistent with the corresponding flows in the ionosphere. The turbulence in the plasma sheet allows the convection patterns from each hemisphere to adjust. The boundary layer in the equatorial plane on the flank for this interplanetary magnetic field By condition, which is below the tilted central plasma sheet, is several Re thick and is on tailward flowing open field lines. This thick boundary layer shields the magnetopause from viscous forces and must be driven by magnetic tension. Above the plasma sheet the boundary layer is dominated by the sash, and the model indicates that the open region inside the sash is considerably thinner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6097-6122
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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