NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Bursts of Magnetic Reconnection: the signatures of Flux Transfer Events on the Earth's dayside and flank magnetopause
Flux transfer events can be identified in the vicinity of the dayside magnetopause on the basis of counterstreaming magnetosheath and magnetospheric particle populations, magnetic field strength enhancements, bipolar magnetic field signatures normal to the nominal magnetopause, and accelerated flows, all signatures of magnetic reconnection. However, the main factor leading to their interpretation in terms of magnetic reconnection is the fact that they tend to occur for southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) orientations. By contrast, events with similar characteristics show no preference for occurance for southward IMF orientations on the magnetotail flanks. We review previous efforts to reconcile these results and present a new explanation that generates FTEs along a tilted subsolar component reconnection line, tracks their antisunward motion, and uses the ambient magnetosheath and magnetospheric magnetic fields to determine the perturbations that they generate in the surrounding media. Predicted event amplitudes, motion orientations, and locations agree well with those determined from Interball-1 and Cluster observations.