Examining coherency scales, substructure, and propagation of whistler-mode chorus elements with Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)

Whistler-mode chorus waves are a naturally occurring electromagnetic emission observed in Earth\textquoterights magnetosphere. Here, for the first time, data from NASA\textquoterights Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission were used to analyze chorus waves in detail, including the calculation of chorus wave normal vectors, k. A case study was examined from a period of substorm activity around the time of a conjunction between the MMS constellation and NASA\textquoterights Van Allen Probes mission on 07 April 2016. Chorus wave activity was simultaneously observed by all six spacecraft over a broad range of L-shells (5.5 < L < 8.5), magnetic local time (06:00 < MLT < 09:00), and magnetic latitude (-32\textdegree < MLat < -15\textdegree), implying a large chorus active region. Eight chorus elements and their substructure were analyzed in detail with MMS. These chorus elements were all lower band and rising tone emissions, right-handed and nearly circularly polarized, and propagating away from the magnetic equator when they were observed at MMS (MLat ~ -31\textdegree). Most of the elements had \textquotedbllefthook\textquotedblright like signatures on their wave power spectra, characterized by enhanced wave power at flat or falling frequency following the peak, and all the elements exhibited complex and well organized substructure observed consistently at all four MMS spacecraft at separations up to 70 km (60 km perpendicular and 38 km parallel to the background magnetic field). The waveforms in field-aligned coordinates also demonstrated that these waves were all phase coherent allowing for the direct calculation of k. Error estimates on calculated k revealed that the plane wave approximation was valid for six of the eight elements and most of the subelements. The wave normal vectors were within 20-30\textdegree from the direction anti-parallel to the background field for all elements and changed from subelement to subelement through at least two of the eight elements. The azimuthal angle of k in the perpendicular plane was oriented earthward and was oblique to that of the Poynting vector, which has implications for the validity of cold plasma theory.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published