Penetration of the solar wind electric field into the magnetosphere/ionosphere system

Michael C. Kelley, Jonathan J. Makela, Jorge L. Chau, Michael J. Nicolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On April 17, 2002 an intense, long duration electric field penetration event was captured by the Jicamarca incoherent scatter radar. Other radars in the U.S. chain detected the event as well, although not with as much clarity. The Interplanetary Electric Field (IEF) is available from the ACE satellite as well. The ratio of the dawn-to-dusk component of the IEF to the dawn-to-dusk electric field in the equatorial ionosphere for periods less than about two hours is 15:1. We suggest that this corresponds to the ratio of the size of the magnetosphere to the length of the connection line between the Inter-planetary Magnetic Field (IMF) and the Earth's magnetic field. Simultaneous magnetic field measurements at Piura (off the magnetic equator) and at Jicamarca (under the magnetic equator) in Peru, reveal the same high frequency components and suggest that a chain of stations or an equatorial fleet of satellites in low earth orbit could be used to monitor the connection length continuously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-1 - 7-3
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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