Small-Scale Magnetic Structures: Cluster Observations

Simon N. Walker, Michael A. Balikhin, Michael Gedalin, Patrick Canu, Keith H. Yearby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the inner magnetosphere, the occurrence of plasma waves and/or magnetic field structures plays an important role in the dynamics of the particle populations, accelerating some particles to higher energies while scattering others. The 2013 Cluster Inner Magnetosphere Campaign was designed to investigate this process based on observations made at small separation scales. In addition, it provides an ideal opportunity for the study of small-scale structures. This paper presents observations of previously unreported small-scale magnetic field structures and investigates their characteristics and spatial properties. These structures, seen in the STAFF-SC data set, are characterized by a rotation in the field direction and are observed to have spatial sizes of a few tens of kilometers, with a central core region around 10 km and are probably filamentary current structures. Using a variance analysis, it was determined that the maximum variance direction was close to being perpendicular to the external magnetic field. Based on the size of the central core region the current density is of the order of 10–40 (Formula presented.). While they may affect the profile of these structures, data calibration effects were ruled out as their origin.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2021JA029674
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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