On April 30 (day 120), 1985, the magnetosphere was compressed at 0923 UT and the subsolar magnetopause remained near 7 REgeocentric for ∼2 hours, during which the four spacecraft Spacecraft Charging At High Altitude (SCATHA), GOES 5, GOES 6, and Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers (AMPTE) CCE were all in the magnetosphere on the morning side. SCATHA was in the low-latitude boundary layer (LLBL) in the second half of this period. The interplanetary magnetic field was inferred to be northward from the characteristics of precipitating particle fluxes as observed by the low-altitude satellite Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F7 and also from absence of substorms. We used magnetic field and particle data from this unique interval to study ULF waves in the LLBL and their relationship to magnetic pulsations in the magnetosphere. The LLBL was identified from the properties of particles, including bidirectional field-aligned electron beams at ∼200 eV. In the boundary layer the magnetic field exhibited both a 5–10 min irregular compressional oscillation and a broadband (Δƒ/ƒ ∼ 1) primarily transverse oscillations with a mean period of ∼50 s and a left-hand sense of polarization about the mean field. The former can be observed by other satellites and is likely due to pressure variations in the solar wind, while the latter is likely due to a Kelvin-Helmholtz (K.-H.) instability occurring in the LLBL or on the magnetopause. Also, a strongly transverse ∼3-s oscillation was observed in the LLBL. The magnetospheric pulsations, which exhibited position dependent frequencies, may be explained in terms of field line resonance with a broadband source wave, that is, either the pressure-induced compressional wave or the K.-H. wave generated in or near the boundary layer.



Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics


American Geophysical Union

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type



Copyright 1991 by the American Geophysical Union.

Included in

Physics Commons