Swarm Observations of Field-Aligned Currents: Case Studies

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Guan Le1, Peter J Chi2, Jesper W Gjerloev3, Claudia Stolle4, Hermann Luhr4, Jaeheung Park4 and Jan Rauberg4, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States, (4)Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
In this paper, we report the results of a few case studies of multi-point magnetic field measurements of field-aligned currents (FACs) from Swarm constellation mission to understand their temporal and spatial characteristics. During the commissioning phase, the three Swarm spacecraft were in an identical polar orbit with a string-of-pearl configuration with small separations. During the science operational phase (since April, 2014), the three spacecraft were placed in slightly different polar orbits: one spacecraft in a higher altitude orbit (507km x 512km) and two side-by-side in lower altitude orbits (459km x 462km). We analyze a few FAC events in both orbital phases and during periods of active geomagnetic conditions. The multi-point observations enable us to examine the FACs’ temporal evolution and separate their temporal and spatial variations.