Is the poleward edge of the trough a sensitive indicator of geospace interactions?

The poleward edge of the main ionospheric trough can often be regarded as the ionospheric signature of the equatorward boundary of the plasma sheet. We use Advanced Ionospheric Sounder observations of the poleward edge from Halley, Antarctica (76°S, 27°W; L=4.2) to investigate some aspects of its dynamics with respect to changes of magnetospheric and solar wind conditions. We find that there is frequently rapid equatorward motion of the poleward edge from ∼20 minutes before to ∼30 minutes after the onset of the main phase of a substorm. These observations are discussed in terms of the dynamics of the plasma sheet during substorm activity. Another class of rapid equatorward motion of the poleward edge of the trough has no apparent cause in the magnetosphere or solar wind. Possible explanations involving longitudinal structure of the trough or small-scale structure of the solar wind are considered.


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Authors: Rodger, Alan S., Dudeney, J.R.

1 January, 1987
Advances in Space Research / 7
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