An interesting open question of magnetospheric physics is the understanding of the dynamics of the magnetotail. The question of the field stretching is even more challenging during substorm periods, mainly because of the short time scales involved during such explosive events. In this study, we asses the ability of global scale proton auroral imaging to provide information on the tail stretching during active periods. We base our investigation on more than 250 isolated substorms observed by IMAGE-SI12 between 2000 and 2002. Applying the algorithm proposed by Donovan et al. (2003) for ground based observations to IMAGE-SI 12 data, we determine the Equatorial Limit (EL) of the oval and propose to use it as an indicator of the tail stretching. Simultaneous comparison with GOES-8 allows us to estimate how strong is the relationship between the EL position deduced from SI12 and the magnetic field stretching. The EL indicator is shown to be consistent with previous studies (Sergeev and Gvozdevsky (1995) and Blockx et al. (2005)) and is found to be located in average ∼1 degree equatorward of the limit deduced from DMSP measurements. The time evolution of the EL magnetic latitude is also presented for different local times relative to the onset position. This evolution of the EL index presents an asymmetric shape following the time of onset, suggesting a more important stretching of the tail duskward of the onset position. This asymmetric stretching is consistent with GOES-8 in situ measurements.
|Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
|Published - 1 May 2007