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Solar wind - magnetosphere coupling during radial IMF conditions: simultaneous multi-point observations
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  • Sergio Toledo-Redondo,
  • Kyoung-Joo Hwang,
  • Christopher Philippe Escoubet,
  • Benoit Lavraud,
  • Jesús Fornieles,
  • Nicolas Aunai,
  • Robert C Fear,
  • Jérémy Dargent,
  • Huishan Fu,
  • Stephen A. Fuselier,
  • Kevin J Genestreti,
  • Yuri V. Khotyaintsev,
  • Wenya Li,
  • Cecilia Norgren,
  • Tai-Duc Phan
Sergio Toledo-Redondo
Department of Electromagnetism and Electronics, University of Murcia

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Kyoung-Joo Hwang
Southwest Research Institute
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Christopher Philippe Escoubet
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Benoit Lavraud
Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie - CNRS
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Jesús Fornieles
University of Granada
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Nicolas Aunai
IRAP, Toulouse, France
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Robert C Fear
University of Southampton
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Jérémy Dargent
Università di Pisa
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Huishan Fu
Beihang University
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Stephen A. Fuselier
Southwest Research Institute
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Kevin J Genestreti
Southwest Research Institute
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Yuri V. Khotyaintsev
Swedish Institute of Space Physics
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Wenya Li
National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Cecilia Norgren
Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen
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Tai-Duc Phan
UC Berkeley
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In situ spacecraft missions are powerful assets to study processes that occur in space plasmas. One of their main limitations, however, is extrapolating such local measurements to the global scales of the system. To overcome this problem at least partially, multi-point measurements can be used. There are several multi-spacecraft missions currently operating in the Earth’s magnetosphere, and the simultaneous use of the data collected by them provides new insights into the large-scale properties and evolution of magnetospheric plasma processes. In this work, we focus on studying the Earth’s magnetopause using a conjunction between the MMS and Cluster fleets, when both missions skimmed the magnetopause for several hours at distant locations during radial IMF conditions. The observed magnetopause positions as a function of the evolving solar wind conditions and compared to model predictions of the magnetopause. We observe an inflation of the magnetosphere (˜0.7 RE), consistent with magnetosheath pressure decrease during radial IMF conditions, which is less pronounced on the flank (< 0.2 RE). There is observational evidence of magnetic reconnection in the subsolar region for the whole encounter, and in the dusk flank for the last portion of the encounter, suggesting that reconnection was extending more than 15 RE. However, reconnection jets were not always observed, suggesting that reconnection was patchy, intermittent or both. Shear flows reduce the reconnection rate up to ˜30% in the dusk flank according to predictions, and the plasma ß enhancement in the magnetosheath during radial IMF favors reconnection suppression by the diamagnetic drift.