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Space Weather




Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


The open‐closed boundary (OCB) defines a region of significant transformation in Earth's protective magnetic shield. Principle among these changes is the transition of magnetic field lines from having two foot points, one in each hemisphere, to one foot point at Earth, the other mapping to the solar wind. Charged particles in the solar wind are able to follow these open field lines into Earth's upper atmosphere. The OCB also defines the polar cap boundary. Being able to identify and track the OCB allows study of several components of the geomagnetic system. Among them are the electrodynamics of the geomagnetic field and the reconnection balance between the dayside and nightside of the geomagnetic field. Furthermore, the OCB can provide insights into the precipitation of energetic protons into the ionosphere. Using the Tsyganenko model of the geomagnetic field (T96), we demonstrate a diurnal fluctuation which we call the Universal Time (UT) effect of the OCB. This UT effect is independent of all other inputs. We anticipate this UT effect to have important consequences in modeling the OCB and other polar cap‐associated structures, especially polar cap absorption events that adversely affect high‐frequency radio wave propagation in polar regions.

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