Survey of radiation belt energetic electron pitch angle distributions based on the Van Allen Probes MagEIS measurements

A statistical survey of electron pitch angle distributions (PADs) is performed based on the pitch angle resolved flux observations from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) instrument on board the Van Allen Probes during the period from 1 October 2012 to 1 May 2015. By fitting the measured PADs to a sinn╬▒ form, where ╬▒ is the local pitch angle and n is the power law index, we investigate the dependence of PADs on electron kinetic energy, magnetic local time (MLT), the geomagnetic Kp index and L-shell. The difference in electron PADs between the inner and outer belt is distinct. In the outer belt, the common averaged n values are less than 1.5, except for large values of the Kp index and high electron energies. The averaged n values vary considerably with MLT, with a peak in the afternoon sector and an increase with increasing L-shell. In the inner belt, the averaged n values are much larger, with a common value greater than 2. The PADs show a slight dependence on MLT, with a weak maximum at noon. A distinct region with steep PADs lies in the outer edge of the inner belt where the electron flux is relatively low. The distance between the inner and outer belt and the intensity of the geomagnetic activity together determine the variation of PADs in the inner belt. Besides being dependent on electron energy, magnetic activity and L-shell, the results show a clear dependence on MLT, with higher n values on the dayside.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published