Simultaneous Observations of Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron (EMIC) Waves and Pitch Angle Scattering During a Van Allen Probes Conjunction

Abstract On 22 December 2015, the two Van Allen Probes observed two sets of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) wave bursts during a close conjunction when both Probe A and Probe B were separated by 0.57 to 0.68 RE. The EMIC waves occurred during an active period in the recovery phase of a coronal mass ejection-driven geomagnetic storm. Both spacecraft observed EMIC wave bursts that had similar spatial structure within a 1–2 min time delay. The EMIC waves occurred outside the plasmasphere, within ΔL ≈ 1–2 of the plasmapause and within a few degrees in magnetic latitude of the equatorial plane. The spatial structure of the EMIC wave bursts may have been related to the proton drift paths outside the plasmasphere and influenced by total magnetic field strength variations associated with solar wind pressure enhancements. The EMIC waves were observed in a narrow L shell region from L ≈ 4.55–5.32 between 10 and 11 magnetic local time (MLT) on the outbound halves of the spacecraft orbits and from L ≈ 4.82–5.51 between 13 and 14 MLT on the inbound halves of the spacecraft orbits. However, Pc1 pulsations were observed on the ground over a broad range of local times. The anisotropy of the proton pitch angle distributions was enhanced when the EMIC waves were observed. Although the overall radiation belt response during this storm was dominated by acceleration and transport processes, the EMIC waves produced local pitch angle scattering of 13–15 keV protons and 2.1–2.6 MeV electrons, consistent with calculations of the expected resonant energies.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published