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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Xiao, C., Liu, W. L., Zhang, D. J., and Zhang, Z. (2020). A normalized statistical study of Earth’s cusp region based on nine-years of Cluster measurements. Earth Planet. Phys., 4(3), 266–273doi: 10.26464/epp2020031

2020, 4(3): 266-273. doi: 10.26464/epp2020031


A normalized statistical study of Earth’s cusp region based on nine-years of Cluster measurements


School of Space and Environment, Beihang University, Beijing 102206, China


Key Laboratory of Space Environment monitoring and Information Processing of MIIT, Beijing 102206, China

Corresponding author: WenLong Liu,

Received Date: 2020-02-05
Web Publishing Date: 2020-05-01

Nine years (2001–2009) of data from the Cluster spacecraft are analyzed in this study of the Earth’s mid- and high-altitude (2–9RE) cusp. Properties of the cusp region, and its location and size in the Solar Magnetic coordinate system, are studied statistically. The survey shows that (1) the relationships between X and Z are nearly linear for the poleward, equatorward boundaries and the center of the cusp; (2) the relationship between cusp width in the X direction and Z can be expressed by a quadratic function; (3) the cusp region is almost dawn-dusk symmetric for the cusp width in the X direction. Based on topology information, a new normalized statistical methodology is developed to organize the measurements of cusp crossings to obtain distributions of magnetic field and plasma parameters in the XZ plane. The statistical results show that (1) Bx is mostly negative and Bz is always negative; (2) proton velocity is found to be positive for Vx and Vz at low altitudes, while Vx and Vz are negative on the equator side and negative Vx and positive Vz on the pole side at high altitudes; (3) proton density is higher on the equator side than on the pole side. Results reported here will be useful in suggesting directions for future cusp research.

Key words: cusp, statistical study, new methodology, topology

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A normalized statistical study of Earth’s cusp region based on nine-years of Cluster measurements

Chao Xiao, WenLong Liu, DianJun Zhang, Zhao Zhang