Multispacecraft current estimates at swarm

M. W. Dunlop, Y.-Y. Yang, J.-Y. Yang, H. Lühr, C. Shen, N. Olsen, P. Ritter, Q.-H. Zhang, J.-B. Cao, H.-S. Fu, R. Haagmans

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    During the first several months of the three-spacecraft Swarm mission all three spacecraft camerepeatedly into close alignment, providing an ideal opportunity for validating the proposed dual-spacecraftmethod for estimating current density from the Swarm magnetic field data. Two of the Swarm spacecraftregularly fly side-by-side in closely similar orbits, while the third at times approaches the other two. Thisprovides a data set which under certain assumptions of stationarity of the magnetic field can produce 2, 3, 4,5 (or more) point measurements, which can be cross compared. We find that at low Earth orbit the use oftime-shifted positions allow stable estimates of current density to be made and can verify temporal effects aswell as validating the interpretation of the current components as arising predominantly from field-alignedcurrents. In the case of four-spacecraft configurations we can resolve the full vector current and therefore cancheck the perpendicular as well as parallel current density components directly, together with the qualityfactor for the estimates directly (for the first time in situ at low Earth orbit).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
    Issue number10
    Pages (from-to)8308-8316
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    ©2015. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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