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The Polar Cusp Seen by Cluster

Abstract : The investigation of the magnetospheric polar cusps was one of the main objectives of the Cluster mission. The four satellites have crossed those regions numerous times over the years and, with their suitable instrumentation, favorable orbits, and unique multipoint measurements, many aspects of the cusp have been unveiled. The first of those is its highly dynamic nature. With four satellites, whatever their altitude and thus their configuration, the spatial/temporal ambiguity has been lifted and a completely new insight into the motion of the cusp and evolution of the transient small-scale structures within it was given. Second, the high altitude or exterior cusp, its properties and dynamics, magnetic configuration, the energetic particles observed within, and its boundary with the magnetosheath were characterized in a number of case studies and on a statistical basis. Third, the Cluster cusp observations brought a fresh eye on the reconnection process at the magnetopause, including its location and spatio-temporal variability. Finally, the complete payload with particle, field and wave detectors have made it possible to treat cusp as a plasma physics laboratory to progress our understanding of wave-particle interaction and turbulence within the cusp. We have no choice but to note that Cluster has been extremely successful for all these matters.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 4:23:01 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 4:25:57 AM

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F. Pitout, y. V. Bogdanova. The Polar Cusp Seen by Cluster. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2021, 126, ⟨10.1029/2021JA029582⟩. ⟨insu-03672394⟩

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