Quasiperiodic Whistler Mode Emissions Observed by the Van Allen Probes Spacecraft

Quasiperiodic (QP) emissions are whistler mode electromagnetic waves observed in the inner magnetosphere which exhibit a QP time modulation of the wave intensity. We analyze 768 QP events observed during the first five years of the operation of the Van Allen Probes spacecraft (09/2012\textendash10/2017). Multicomponent wave measurements performed in the equatorial region, where the emissions are likely generated, are used to reveal new experimental information about their properties. We show that the events are observed nearly exclusively inside the plasmasphere. Wave frequencies are mostly between about 0.5 and 4 kHz. The events observed at larger radial distances and on the duskside tend to have slightly lower frequencies than the emissions observed elsewhere. The maximum event frequencies are limited by half of the equatorial electron gyrofrequency, suggesting the importance of wave ducting. Modulation periods are typically between about 0.5 and 5 minutes, and they increase with the in-situ measured plasma number density. This increase is consistent with the main mechanisms suggested to explain the origin of the QP modulation. Two-point measurements performed by the Van Allen Probes are used to estimate a typical spatial extent of the emissions to about 1RE in radial distance and 1.5 hours in magnetic local time. Detailed wave analysis shows that the emissions are right-hand circularly polarized, and they usually come from several different directions simultaneously. They, however, predominantly propagate at rather low wave normal angles and away from the geomagnetic equator.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published