Two Black Brant IX sounding rockets were launched into the dark, dayside cusp near magnetic noon on December 2 and 3, 1997, from Ny Alesund, Spitzbergen at 79degN reaching altitudes of approximately 450 km. Real-time ground-based and Wind (interplanetary magnetic field) IMF data were used to determine the launch conditions. The first launch, with Bz north conditions, crossed into and back out of an open field region with merging poleward of the projected trajectory. The second flight, into Bz south conditions, was timed to coincide with an enhancement in the merging rate from a increase in the negative Bz, while the (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) DMSP F13 satellite was situated slightly to the north of the rocket trajectory. Each payload returned DC electric and magnetic fields, plasma waves, energetic particles, photometer data, and thermal plasma data. Data from both flights will be shown, with an emphasis on the DC electric field results. In particular, the data gathered on December 2, 1997 will be used to discuss ionospheric signatures of merging and the open/closed character of the the cusp/low latitude boundary layer. In contrast, the data gathered on December 3, 1997 shows evidence of pulsed electric field structures which will be examined in the context of cusp plasma entry processes. Both data sets returned a rich variety of plasma waves, as well as optical emissions and thermal plasma data.
Jul 01, 1999; Birmingham; United Kingdom