Space Science Reviews

, Volume 122, Issue 1–4, pp 97–106 | Cite as

Relationship Between Substorm Auroras and Processes in the Near-Earth Magnetotail

  • A. G. YahninEmail author
  • I. V. Despirak
  • A. A. Lubchich
  • B. V. Kozelov
  • N. P. Dmitrieva
  • M. A. Shukhtina
  • H. K Biernat


Although the auroral substorm has been long regarded as a manifestation of the magnetospheric substorm, a direct relation of active auroras to certain magnetospheric processes is still debatable. To investigate the relationship, we combine the data of the UV imager onboard the Polar satellite with plasma and magnetic field measurements by the Geotail spacecraft. The poleward edge of the auroral bulge, as determined from the images obtained at the LHBL passband, is found to be conjugated with the region where the oppositely directed fast plasma flows observed in the near-Earth plasma sheet during substorms are generated. We conclude that the auroras forming the bulge are due to the near-Earth reconnection process. This implies that the magnetic flux through the auroral bulge is equal to the flux dissipated in the magnetotail during the substorm. Comparison of the magnetic flux through the auroral bulge with the magnetic flux accumulated in the tail lobe during the growth phase shows that these parameters have the comparable values. This is a clear evidence of the loading–unloading scheme of substorm development. It is shown that the area of the auroral bulge developing during substorm is proportional to the total (magnetic plus plasma) pressure decrease in the magnetotail. These findings stress the importance of auroral bulge observations for monitoring of substorm intensity in terms of the magnetic flux and energy dissipation.


auroral substorm magnetotail plasma sheet magnetic reconnection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Yahnin
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. V. Despirak
    • 1
  • A. A. Lubchich
    • 1
  • B. V. Kozelov
    • 1
  • N. P. Dmitrieva
    • 2
  • M. A. Shukhtina
    • 2
  • H. K Biernat
    • 3
  1. 1.Polar Geophysical InstituteApatityRussia
  2. 2.Institute of PhysicsState UniversitySankt-PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Space Research InstituteGrazAustria

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