Fine Scale Structure of the Afternoon Equatorial Magnetopause as Seen on the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

Monday, 14 December 2015: 11:53
2018 (Moscone West)
Christopher T Russell1, Guan Le2, Wolfgang Baumjohann3, Ferdinand Plaschke4, Robert J Strangeway5, Cong Zhao5, Hannes Karl Leinweber6, Brian J Anderson7, David Fischer4, James A Slavin8, Kenneth R Bromund2, Larry Kepko2, Mark Chutter9, Roy B Torbert10, Werner Magnes11, Rumi Nakamura12 and James L Burch13, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria, (4)IWF Institute for Space Research, Graz, Austria, (5)University of California Los Angeles, IGPP/EPSS, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (6)Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (7)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (8)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (9)University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States, (10)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Durham, NH, United States, (11)Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria, (12)Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria, (13)Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, United States
The four Magnetospheric Multiscale mission spacecraft were launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early on March 13 2015 into an elliptical orbit with apogee of 12 Re in the dawn magnetosphere. Until July 9, the spacecraft orbited the Earth in a string of pearls configuration exploring the near-Earth tail with a brief exit of the magnetosphere when CME arrived at Earth. On July 9, the four spacecraft were stationed in a tetrahedral formation with separations of 160 km. During the period ending December 1, the four spacecraft drift around to noon, exploring the magnetopause with a well formed tetrahedron, with sides as short as 10 km allowing us to study the magnetic and electric current structure of the magnetopause. This structure is complex. There is large-scale reconnection often resulting in the formation of fluxropes connected to the magnetosphere such as FTEs. Consistent with earlier measurements, there are often thin tubes of magnetic field crossing the current layer. In this survey we compare the MMS observations with the observed earlier by ISEEs 1 and 2 spacecraft.