The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission has recently provided the first all-sky maps of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) emitted from the edge of the heliosphere as well as the first observations of ENAs from the Moon and from the magnetosheath stagnation region at the nose of the magnetosphere. This study provides the first IBEX images of the ENA emissions from the nightside magnetosphere and plasma sheet. We show images from two IBEX orbits: one that displays typical plasma sheet emissions, which correlate reasonably well with a model magnetic field, and a second that shows a significant intensification that may indicate a near-Earth (similar to 10 R(E) behind the Earth) disconnection event. IBEX observations from similar to 0.5-6 keV indicate the simultaneous addition of both a hot (several keV) and colder (similar to 700 eV) component during the intensification; if IBEX directly observed magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail, the hot component may signify the plasma energization.
Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics
AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
McComas, D. J.; Dayeh, M. A.; Funsten, H. O.; Fuselier, S. A.; Goldstein, J.; Jahn, J. M.; Janzen, P.; Mitchell, D. G.; Petrinec, S. M.; Reisenfeld, D. B.; and Schwadron, Nathan A., "First IBEX observations of the terrestrial plasma sheet and a possible disconnection event" (2011). Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics. 76.
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union