FAST Observations of Field-Aligned Currents and Electric Fields During the January 1997 CME Event

C. A. Cattell, A. Bowser, K. Sigsbee (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455)

C. W. Carlson, R. E. Ergun, J. P. McFadden, F. Mozer, W. Peria (Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720)

R. C. Elphic (Space and Atmospheric Sciences, Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545)

R. J. Strangeway, C. Russell, G. Le (Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024)

The CME event of January 6 - 11, 1997 has been the subject of intensive study. In this talk, we will describe the evolution of field-aligned currents and convection electric fields observed by the FAST satellite during this event. FAST was in a noon-midnight orbit and, therefore, in a good local time sector to observe changes in the current system and polar cap boundary locations associated with the variations in the solar wind conditions . Dramatic variations in the intensity and structure of the currents and the electric field were observed. The low altitude FAST results will be compared with the low altitude Polar observations of currents (Le et al., GRL, in press, 1998), as well as high altitude Polar observations of currents, and Polar observations of the convection electric field. The significance of the observations to our understanding of the dynamics of the magnetosphere and solar wind-magnetospheric coupling during this event will be discussed.

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