Formation of the Sun-aligned arc region and the void (polar slot) under the null-separator structure

T. Tanaka, T. Obara, M. Watanabe, S. Fujita, Y. Ebihara, R. Kataoka

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From the global magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling simulation, we examined the formation of the Sun-aligned arc region and the void (polar slot) under the northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) with negative By condition. In the magnetospheric null-separator structure, the separatrices generated from two null points and two separators divide the entire space into four types of magnetic region, i.e., the IMF, the northern open magnetic field, the southern open magnetic field, and the closed magnetic field. In the ionosphere, the Sun-aligned arc region and the void are reproduced in the distributions of simulated plasma pressure and field-aligned current. The outermost closed magnetic field lines on the boundary (separatrix) between the northern open magnetic field and the closed magnetic field are projected to the northern ionosphere at the boundary between the Sun-aligned arc region and the void, both on the morning and evening sides. The magnetic field lines at the plasma sheet inner edge are projected to the equatorward boundary of the oval. Therefore, the Sun-aligned arc region is on the closed magnetic field lines of the plasma sheet. In the plasma sheet, an inflated structure (bulge) is generated at the junction of the tilted plasma sheet in the far-to-middle tail and nontilted plasma sheet in the ring current region. In the Northern Hemisphere, the bulge is on the evening side wrapped by the outermost closed magnetic field lines that are connected to the northern evening ionosphere. This inflated structure (bulge) is associated with shear flows that cause the Sun-aligned arc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4102-4116
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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