Limiting energy spectrum of an electron radiation belt
Author  
Keywords  
Abstract 
To determine the KennelPetschek limiting particle flux in a planetary radiation belt in a fully relativistic regime, without assuming a predetermined form for the particle energy distribution, has been a longstanding challenge in space physics. In this paper, for the case of whistler mode waveelectron interaction, we meet this challenge. The limiting flux is determined by a steady state marginal stability criterion in which a convective wave gain condition is applied over all frequencies for which wave growth occurs. This condition produces an integral equation for the trapped flux. We find that in the relativistic regime the limiting electron energy spectrum varies asymptotically as 1/E, for large energy E, just as in the nonrelativistic case. However, the scaling coefficient in the relativistic case is twice that in the nonrelativistic result. We compare numerical solutions for the limiting spectra with measured energetic electron spectra at Jupiter.

Year of Publication 
2014

Journal 
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Volume 
119

Number of Pages 
63136326

Date Published 
08/2014

URL 
http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/2014JA020250

DOI 
10.1002/2014JA020250
