On the loss of relativistic electrons at geosynchronous altitude: Its dependence on magnetic configurations and external conditions

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Keywords
Abstract
[1] The present study statistically examines geosynchronous magnetic configurations and external conditions that characterize the loss of geosynchronous MeV electrons. The loss of MeV electrons often takes place during magnetospheric storms, but it also takes place without any clear storm activity. It is found that irrespective of storm activity, the day-night asymmetry of the geosynchronous H (north-south) magnetic component is pronounced during electron loss events. For the loss process, the magnitude, rather than the duration, of the magnetic distortion appears to be important, and its effective duration can be as short as \~30 min. The solar wind dynamic pressure tends to be high and interplanetary magnetic field BZ tends to be southward during electron loss events. Under such external conditions the dayside magnetopause moves closer to Earth, and the day-night magnetic asymmetry is enhanced. As a consequence the area of closed drift orbits shrinks. The magnetic field at the subsolar magnetopause, which is estimated from force balance with the solar wind dynamic pressure, is usually stronger than the nightside geosynchronous magnetic field during electron loss events. It is therefore suggested that geosynchronous MeV electrons on the night side are very often on open drift paths when geosynchronous MeV electrons are lost. Whereas the present result does not preclude the widely accepted idea that MeV electrons are lost to the atmosphere by wave-particle interaction, it suggests that magnetopause shadowing is another plausible loss process of geosynchronous MeV electrons.
Year of Publication
2009
Journal
Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume
114
Date Published
01/2009
ISSN Number
0148-0227
URL
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008JA013391/full
DOI
10.1029/2008JA013391