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Daytona Beach


Department of Physical Sciences

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The observation of energetic particles by polar orbiting satellites in the magnetospheric cusp resulted in a controversy about their source region. It has been suggested that these cusp energetic particles (CEP) with significant fluxes from magnetosheath energies up to several hundred keV/e are accelerated locally in the cusp by the turbulence found in cusp diamagnetic cavities (CDC). As an alternative to the local acceleration region, the quasi‐parallel shock is successful as a source region for CEP events. Energetic ions accelerated at the bow shock can be transported downstream and enter the cusp along newly reconnected field lines. Composition and energy spectra of these CEP events resemble those of bow shock energetic diffuse ions. This study investigates a northern cusp pass by the Cluster satellites that encountered two CDCs with CEP ions. We use recently developed techniques to determine the location of the reconnection site at the magnetopause, draping interplanetary magnetic field lines over the magnetopause and mapping those field lines back into the solar wind to show magnetic connection of the cusp regions, Earth’s bow shock, and upstream region. Energetic ions are also observed outside the magnetopause in the boundary layer streaming from the quasi‐parallel shock toward the cusp which supports an outside source region for CEP ions.

Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics



American Geophysical Union