The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) frequently images the Earth's magnetosphere in Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENAs). In May 2013, there was an extended period of northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) while IBEX was imaging the Earth's magnetotail. During this period, IBEX imaged the development of the cold plasma sheet between about 15 and 20 Earth radii (RE) down the tail from the Earth. The ENA fluxes changed in both amplitude and average energy during this development. In addition, the plasma sheet may have thickened. At the end of the interval, the IMF turned southward and ENA fluxes decreased. The thickening of the plasma sheet suggests that the plasma in this region increases in both density and volume as it develops during extended periods of northward IMF. The decrease in the ENA flux suggests thinning of the plasma sheet and loss of plasma associated with the IMF turning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
- ENA imaging
- plasma sheet
- solar wind magneotsphere interactions