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[Text from NASA's THEMIS home page ]

The Search Coil Magnetometer (SCM) measures low frequency magnetic field fluctuations and waves in three directions (tri-axial) in the Earth’s magnetosphere. Scientists believe that low frequency magnetic fluctuations and waves play an important role in triggering substorms. Frequencies of the waves range from several octaves below the lowest key on the piano (0.1 Hz) up to the top key on the piano (4 kHz). The SCM will measure this range to identify the instability that triggers substorms. Data from the SCM will be especially important in studying the waves in the “current disruption region” about 10 Earth Radii away from Earth in the magnetotail plasma sheet, as well as at larger distances where neutral lines are expected to form. Together with the other instruments of the THEMIS suite, the SCM will reveal the link between waves and the location(s) where substorms begin, thereby identifying the basic substorm mechanism.

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Instrument Owner: CETP (France)