Cluster magnetic field observations in the magnetosheath: four-point measurements of mirror structures
The Cluster spacecraft have returned the first simultaneous four-point measurements of the magnetosheath. We present an analysis of data recorded on 10 November 2000, when the four spacecrafts observed an interval of strong mirrorlike activity. Correlation analysis between spacecraft pairs is used to examine the scale size of the mirror structures in three dimensions. Two examples are presented which suggest that the scale size of mirror structures is ~ 1500–3000 km along the flow direction, and shortest along the magnetopause normal (< 600 km), which, in this case, is approximately perpendicular to both the mean magnetic field and the magnetosheath flow vector. Variations on scales of ~ 750–1000 km are found along the maximum variance direction. The level of correlation in this direction, however, and the time lag observed, are found to be variable. These first results suggest that variations occur on scales of the order of the spacecraft separation ( ~ 1000 km) in at least two directions, but analysis of further examples and a statistical survey of structures observed with different magnetic field orientations and tetrahedral configurations will enable us to describe more fully the size and orientation of mirror structures.
Key words. Magnetosphenic physics (magnetosheath; plasma waves and instabilities)