Heavy-ion dominance near Cluster perigees

Time periods in which heavy ions dominate over H+ in the energy range of 1-40 keV were observed by the Cluster Ion Spectrometry (CIS)/COmposition DIstribution Function (CODIF) instrument onboard Cluster Spacecraft 4 at L-values less than 4. The characteristic feature is a narrow flux peak at around 10 keV that extends into low L-values, with He+ and/or O+ dominating. In the present work we perform a statistical study of these events and examine their temporal occurrence and spatial distribution. The observed features, both the narrow energy range and the heavy-ion dominance, can be interpreted using a model of ion drift from the plasma sheet, subject to charge exchange losses. The narrow energy range corresponds to the only energy range that has direct drift access from the plasma sheet during quiet times. The drift time to these locations from the plasma sheet is > 30 hours, so that charge exchange has a significant impact on the population. We show that a simple drift/loss model can explain the dependence on L-shell and MLT of these heavy-ion-dominant time periods.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Number of Pages
n/a - n/a
Date Published