Magnetic field and electric current density distribution in the geomagnetic tail, based on Geotail data

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Abstract

Analysis of Geotail magnetic data enables us to reveal the antisunward electric current flowing along the tail axis. To our knowledge, observation of this current has not been reported yet. Distributions of the magnetic field and electric current density (along with their dependencies on the tilt angle of the Earth's dipole and components of the interplanetary magnetic field) have been derived directly from Geotail data, without any ad hoc assumptions. Analysis of the electric current density distribution shows that, in addition to currents associated with the geomagnetic tail flaring, there is a current (tentatively identified as the Hall current) flowing antisunward along the tail axis. The total strength of this current is of the order of 1 MA. It closes through the midnight sector of the auroral zone resulting in field-aligned currents in the region of the Harang discontinuity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000JA900165
Pages (from-to)25919-25927
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume106
Issue numberA11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2001

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