Dawn-dusk (y) component of the interplanetary magnetic field and the local time of the harang discontinuity

We describe a simple method for determining the time at which the meridian of a sub-auroral magnetic observatory crosses that of the Harang discontinuity—the separation of the eastward and westward electrojets which flow in the evening and morning sectors of the auroral oval. We then consider how this time, determined from examination of magnetograms from sub-auroral observatories varies with the dawn-dusk (y) component of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field. We find that the time at which the Harang discontinuity is identified in the Northern Hemisphere is earlier for By > 0 than the occasions when By < 0, and that the converse is observed in the Southern Hemisphere. Also we suggest that there is no significant seasonal variation in the relationship between the time of the discontinuity and By. The sense of the azimuthal shift of the auroral electrojet currents with changes in By is consistent with the theory of Cowley (1981). However, the magnitude of the observed shifts is approximately an order of magnitude greater than the theoretical predictions. We suggest that this difference between observation and theory arises from the use of a dipole magnetic field model at auroral zone latitudes in the theoretical estimation of azimuthal displacement.


Publication status:
Authors: Rodger, Alan S., Cowley, S.W.H., Brown, M.J., Pinnock, Michael, Simmons, D.A.

On this site: Michael Pinnock
1 January, 1984
Planetary and Space Science / 32
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