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Found 14 entries in the Bibliography.

Showing entries from 1 through 14


Observations of Particle Loss due to Injection-Associated EMIC Waves

AbstractWe report on observations of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves and their interactions with injected ring current particles and high energy radiation belt electrons. The magnetic field experiment aboard the twin Van Allen Probes spacecraft measured EMIC waves near L = 5.5 − 6. Particle data from the spacecraft show that the waves were associated with particle injections. The wave activity was also observed by a ground-based magnetometer near the spacecraft geomagnetic footprint over a more extensive temporal range. Phase space density (PSD) profiles, calculated from directional differential electron flux data from Van Allen Probes, show that there was a significant energy-dependent relativistic electron dropout over a limited L-shell range during and after the EMIC wave activity. In addition, the NOAA spacecraft observed relativistic electron precipitation associated with the EMIC waves near the footprint of the Van Allen Probes spacecraft. The observations suggest EMIC wave-induced relativistic electron loss in the radiation belt.

Kim, Hyomin; Schiller, Quintin; Engebretson, Mark; Noh, Sungjun; Kuzichev, Ilya; Lanzerotti, Louis; Gerrard, Andrew; Kim, Khan-Hyuk; Lessard, Marc; Spence, Harlan; Lee, Dae-Young; Matzka, Jürgen; Fromm, Tanja;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 01/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

EMIC waves; ring current; Radiation belt; wave particle interaction; injection; Particle precipitation; Van Allen Probes


Evolution of pitch angle distributions of relativistic electrons during geomagnetic storms: Van Allen Probes Observations

We present a study analyzing relativistic and ultra relativistic electron energization and the evolution of pitch angle distributions using data from the Van Allen Probes. We study the connection between energization and isotropization to determine if there is a coherence across storms and across energies. Pitch angle distributions are fit with a J0sinnθ function, and the variable ’n’ is characterized as the pitch angle index and tracked over time. Our results show that, consistently across all storms with ultra relativistic electron energization, electron distributions are most anisotropic within around a day of Dstmin and become more isotropic in the following week. Also, each consecutively higher energy channel is associated with higher anisotropy after storm main phase. Changes in the pitch angle index are reflected in each energy channel; when 1.8 MeV electron pitch angle distributions increase (or decrease) in pitch angle index, so do the other energy channels. We show that the peak anisotropies differ between CME- and CIR- driven storms and measure the relaxation rate as the anisotropy falls after the storm. The isotropization rate in pitch angle index for CME-driven storms is -0.15±0.02 day−1 at 1.8 MeV, -0.30±0.01 day−1 at 3.4 MeV, and -0.39±0.02 day−1 at 5.2 MeV. For CIR-driven storms, the isotropization rates are -0.10±0.01 day−1 for 1.8 MeV, -0.13±0.02 day−1 for 3.4 MeV, and -0.11±0.02 day−1 for 5.2 MeV. This study shows that there is a global coherence across energies and that storm type may play a role in the evolution of electron pitch angle distributions.

Greeley, Ashley; Kanekal, Shrikanth; Sibeck, David; Schiller, Quintin; Baker, Daniel;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 12/2020

YEAR: 2020     DOI:

pitch angle distributions; relativistic electrons; ultra relativistic electrons; Van Allen Probes; pitch angle distribution evolution; anisotropic electrons


EMIC Wave-Driven Bounce Resonance Scattering of Energetic Electrons in the Inner Magnetosphere

While electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves have been long studied as a scattering mechanism for ultrarelativistic (megaelectron volt) electrons via cyclotron-resonant interactions, these waves are also of the right frequency to resonate with the bounce motion of lower-energy (approximately tens to hundreds of kiloelectron volts) electrons. Here we investigate the effectiveness of this bounce resonance interaction to better determine the effects of EMIC waves on subrelativistic electron populations in Earth\textquoterights inner magnetosphere. Using wave and plasma parameters directly measured by the Van Allen Probes, we estimate bounce resonance diffusion coefficients for four different events, illustrative of wave and plasma parameters to be encountered in the inner magnetosphere. The range of electron energies and pitch angles affected is examined to better assess the realistic effects of EMIC-driven bounce resonance on energetic electron populations based on actual, locally observed event-based parameters. Significant local diffusion coefficients (~ > 10-6 s-1) for 50- to 100-keV electrons are achieved for both H+ band wave events as well as He+ band, with diffusion coefficients peaking for near-90\textdegree pitch angles but remaining elevated for intermediate ones as well. Diffusion coefficients for higher-energy 200-keV electrons are typically multiple orders of magnitude lower (ranging from 10-11 to 10-6 s-1) and often peak at lower pitch angles (~20\textendash30\textdegree). These results suggest that both H+ and He+ band EMIC waves can play a role in shaping lower-energy electron dynamics via bounce-resonant interactions, in addition to their role in relativistic electron loss via cyclotron resonance.

Blum, L.W.; Artemyev, A.; Agapitov, O.; Mourenas, D.; Boardsen, S.; Schiller, Q.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 03/2019

YEAR: 2019     DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026427

bounce resonance; EMIC wave; energetic electrons; Radiation belts; Van Allen Probes


Simultaneous event-specific estimates of transport, loss, and source rates for relativistic outer radiation belt electrons

The most significant unknown regarding relativistic electrons in Earth\textquoterights outer Van Allen radiation belt is the relative contribution of loss, transport, and acceleration processes within the inner magnetosphere. Detangling each individual process is critical to improve the understanding of radiation belt dynamics, but determining a single component is challenging due to sparse measurements in diverse spatial and temporal regimes. However, there are currently an unprecedented number of spacecraft taking measurements that sample different regions of the inner magnetosphere. With the increasing number of varied observational platforms, system dynamics can begin to be unraveled. In this work, we employ in situ measurements during the 13\textendash14 January 2013 enhancement event to isolate transport, loss, and source dynamics in a one-dimensional radial diffusion model. We then validate the results by comparing them to Van Allen Probes and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms observations, indicating that the three terms have been accurately and individually quantified for the event. Finally, a direct comparison is performed between the model containing event-specific terms and various models containing terms parameterized by geomagnetic index. Models using a simple 3/Kp loss time scale show deviation from the event-specific model of nearly 2 orders of magnitude within 72 h of the enhancement event. However, models using alternative loss time scales closely resemble the event-specific model.

Schiller, Q.; Tu, W.; Ali, A.; Li, X.; Godinez, H.; Turner, D.; Morley, S.; Henderson, M.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 03/2017

YEAR: 2017     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023093

CubeSat; data assimilation; electron; event specific; Modeling; Radiation belt; Van Allen Probes


Prompt injections of highly relativistic electrons induced by interplanetary shocks: A statistical study of Van Allen Probes observations

We conduct a statistical study on the sudden response of outer radiation belt electrons due to interplanetary (IP) shocks during the Van Allen Probes era, i.e., 2012 to 2015. Data from the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope instrument on board Van Allen Probes are used to investigate the highly relativistic electron response (E > 1.8 MeV) within the first few minutes after shock impact. We investigate the relationship of IP shock parameters, such as Mach number, with the highly relativistic electron response, including spectral properties and radial location of the shock-induced injection. We find that the driving solar wind structure of the shock does not affect occurrence for enhancement events, 25\% of IP shocks are associated with prompt energization, and 14\% are associated with MeV electron depletion. Parameters that represent IP shock strength are found to correlate best with highest levels of energization, suggesting that shock strength may play a key role in the severity of the enhancements. However, not every shock results in an enhancement, indicating that magnetospheric preconditioning may be required.

Schiller, Q.; Kanekal, S.; Jian, L.; Li, X.; Jones, A.; Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Spence, H.;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 12/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071628

electrons; IP shocks; Radiation belts; Van Allen Probes

Prompt acceleration of magnetospheric electrons to ultrarelativistic energies by the 17 March 2015 interplanetary shock

Trapped electrons in Earth\textquoterights outer Van Allen radiation belt are influenced profoundly by solar phenomena such as high-speed solar wind streams, coronal mass ejections (CME), and interplanetary (IP) shocks. In particular, strong IP shocks compress the magnetosphere suddenly and result in rapid energization of electrons within minutes. It is believed that the electric fields induced by the rapid change in the geomagnetic field are responsible for the energization. During the latter part of March 2015, a CME impact led to the most powerful geomagnetic storm (minimum Dst = -223 nT at 17 March, 23 UT) observed not only during the Van Allen Probe era but also the entire preceding decade. Magnetospheric response in the outer radiation belt eventually resulted in elevated levels of energized electrons. The CME itself was preceded by a strong IP shock whose immediate effects vis-a-vis electron energization were observed by sensors on board the Van Allen Probes. The comprehensive and high-quality data from the Van Allen Probes enable the determination of the location of the electron injection, timescales, and spectral aspects of the energized electrons. The observations clearly show that ultrarelativistic electrons with energies E > 6 MeV were injected deep into the magnetosphere at L ≈ 3 within about 2 min of the shock impact. However, electrons in the energy range of ≈250 keV to ≈900 keV showed no immediate response to the IP shock. Electric and magnetic fields resulting from the shock-driven compression complete the comprehensive set of observations that provide a full description of the near-instantaneous electron energization.

Kanekal, S.; Baker, D.; Fennell, J.; Jones, A.; Schiller, Q.; Richardson, I.; Li, X.; Turner, D.; Califf, S.; Claudepierre, S.; Wilson, L.; Jaynes, A.; Blake, J.; Reeves, G.; Spence, H.; Kletzing, C.; Wygant, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 08/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022596

electron; energizaiton; IP shock; ultrarelativsti; Van Allen Probes


Upper limit on the inner radiation belt MeV electron Intensity

No instruments in the inner radiation belt are immune from the unforgiving penetration of the highly energetic protons (10s of MeV to GeV). The inner belt proton flux level, however, is relatively stable, thus for any given instrument, the proton contamination often leads to a certain background noise. Measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile) on board Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat, in a low Earth orbit, clearly demonstrate that there exist sub-MeV electrons in the inner belt because of their flux level is orders of magnitude higher than the background, while higher energy electron (>1.6 MeV) measurements cannot be distinguished from the background. Detailed analysis of high-quality measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) on board Van Allen Probes, in a geo-transfer-like orbit, provides, for the first time, quantified upper limits on MeV electron fluxes in various energy ranges in the inner belt. These upper limits are rather different from flux levels in the AE8 and AE9 models, which were developed based on older data sources. For 1.7, 2.5, and 3.3 MeV electrons, the upper limits are about one order of magnitude lower than predicted model fluxes. The implication of this difference is profound in that unless there are extreme solar wind conditions, which have not happened yet since the launch of Van Allen Probes, significant enhancements of MeV electrons do not occur in the inner belt even though such enhancements are commonly seen in the outer belt.

Li, X.; Selesnick, R.; Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Kanekal, S.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Fennell, J.; Blake, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 01/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020777

Van Allen Probes


Evolution of relativistic outer belt electrons during an extended quiescent period

To effectively study steady loss due to hiss-driven precipitation of relativistic electrons in the outer radiation belt, it is useful to isolate this loss by studying a time of relatively quiet geomagnetic activity. We present a case of initial enhancement and slow, steady decay of 700 keV - 2 MeV electron populations in the outer radiation belt during an extended quiescent period from ~15 December 2012 - 13 January 2013. We incorporate particle measurements from a constellation of satellites, including the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat, the Van Allen Probes twin spacecraft, and THEMIS, to understand the evolution of the electron populations across pitch angle and energy. Additional data from calculated phase space density (PSD), as well as hiss and chorus wave data from Van Allen Probes, helps complete the picture of the slow precipitation loss of relativistic electrons during a quiet time. Electron loss to the atmosphere during this event is quantified through use of the Loss Index Method, utilizing CSSWE measurements at LEO. By comparing these results against equatorial Van Allen Probes electron flux data, we conclude the net precipitation loss of the outer radiation belt content to be greater than 92\%, suggesting no significant acceleration during this period, and resulting in faster electron loss rates than have previously been reported.

Jaynes, A.; Li, X.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Tu, W.; Turner, D.; Ni, B.; Bortnik, J.; Baker, D.; Kanekal, S.; Blake, J.; Wygant, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 12/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020125

electron lifetime; hiss waves; pitch angle scattering; precipitation loss; Radiation belts; Van Allen Probes

An impenetrable barrier to ultrarelativistic electrons in the Van Allen radiation belts

Early observations1, 2 indicated that the Earth\textquoterights Van Allen radiation belts could be separated into an inner zone dominated by high-energy protons and an outer zone dominated by high-energy electrons. Subsequent studies3, 4 showed that electrons of moderate energy (less than about one megaelectronvolt) often populate both zones, with a deep \textquoteleftslot\textquoteright region largely devoid of particles between them. There is a region of dense cold plasma around the Earth known as the plasmasphere, the outer boundary of which is called the plasmapause. The two-belt radiation structure was explained as arising from strong electron interactions with plasmaspheric hiss just inside the plasmapause boundary5, with the inner edge of the outer radiation zone corresponding to the minimum plasmapause location6. Recent observations have revealed unexpected radiation belt morphology7, 8, especially at ultrarelativistic kinetic energies9, 10 (more than five megaelectronvolts). Here we analyse an extended data set that reveals an exceedingly sharp inner boundary for the ultrarelativistic electrons. Additional, concurrently measured data11 reveal that this barrier to inward electron radial transport does not arise because of a physical boundary within the Earth\textquoterights intrinsic magnetic field, and that inward radial diffusion is unlikely to be inhibited by scattering by electromagnetic transmitter wave fields. Rather, we suggest that exceptionally slow natural inward radial diffusion combined with weak, but persistent, wave\textendashparticle pitch angle scattering deep inside the Earth\textquoterights plasmasphere can combine to create an almost impenetrable barrier through which the most energetic Van Allen belt electrons cannot migrate.

Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Hoxie, V.; Thorne, R.; Foster, J.; Li, X.; Fennell, J.; Wygant, J.; Kanekal, S.; Erickson, P.; Kurth, W.; Li, W.; Ma, Q.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Malaspina, D.; Gerrard, A.; Lanzerotti, L.;

Published by: Nature      Published on: 11/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1038/nature13956

Magnetospheric physics; ultrarelativistic electrons; Van Allen Belts; Van Allen Probes

THEMIS measurements of quasi-static electric fields in the inner magnetosphere

We use four years of THEMIS double-probe measurements to offer, for the first time, a complete picture of the dawn-dusk electric field covering all local times and radial distances in the inner magnetosphere based on in situ equatorial observations. This study is motivated by the results from the CRRES mission, which revealed a local maximum in the electric field developing near Earth during storm times, rather than the expected enhancement at higher L shells that is shielded near Earth as suggested by the Volland-Stern model. The CRRES observations were limited to the dusk side, while THEMIS provides complete local time coverage. We show strong agreement with the CRRES results on the dusk side, with a local maximum near L =4 for moderate levels of geomagnetic activity and evidence of strong electric fields inside L =3 during the most active times. The extensive dataset from THEMIS also confirms the day/night asymmetry on the dusk side, where the enhancement is closest to Earth in the dusk-midnight sector, and is farther away closer to noon. A similar, but smaller in magnitude, local maximum is observed on the dawn side near L =4. The noon sector shows the smallest average electric fields, and for more active times, the enhancement develops near L =7 rather than L =4. We also investigate the impact of the uncertain boom-shorting factor on the results, and show that while the absolute magnitude of the electric field may be underestimated, the trends with geomagnetic activity remain intact.

Califf, S.; Li, X.; Blum, L.; Jaynes, A.; Schiller, Q.; Zhao, H.; Malaspina, D.; Hartinger, M.; Wolf, R.; Rowland, D.; Wygant, J.; Bonnell, J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020360

convection; double probe; electric field; inner magnetosphere

A nonstorm time enhancement of relativistic electrons in the outer radiation belt

Despite the lack of a geomagnetic storm (based on the Dst index), relativistic electron fluxes were enhanced over 2.5 orders of magnitude in the outer radiation belt in 13 h on 13\textendash14 January 2013. The unusual enhancement was observed by Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS), onboard the Van Allen Probes; Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope Integrated Little Experiment, onboard the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment; and Solid State Telescope, onboard Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS). Analyses of MagEIS phase space density (PSD) profiles show a positive outward radial gradient from 4 < L < 5.5. However, THEMIS observations show a peak in PSD outside of the Van Allen Probes\textquoteright apogee, which suggest a very interesting scenario: wave-particle interactions causing a PSD peak at ~ L* = 5.5 from where the electrons are then rapidly transported radially inward. This letter demonstrates, for the first time in detail, that geomagnetic storms are not necessary for causing dramatic enhancements in the outer radiation belt.

Schiller, Quintin; Li, Xinlin; Blum, Lauren; Tu, Weichao; Turner, Drew; Blake, J.;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 01/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058485

Van Allen Probes

One year of on-orbit performance of the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE)

The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment is a 3-unit (10cm \texttimes 10cm \texttimes 30cm) CubeSat funded by the National Science Foundation and constructed at the University of Colorado (CU). The CSSWE science instrument, the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile), provides directional differential flux measurements of 0.5 to >3.3 MeV electrons and 9 to 40 MeV protons. Though a collaboration of 60+ multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate students working with CU professors and engineers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), CSSWE was designed, built, tested, and delivered in 3 years. On September 13, 2012, CSSWE was inserted to a 477 \texttimes 780 km, 65\textdegree orbit as a secondary payload on an Atlas V through the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. The first successful contact with CSSWE was made within a few hours of launch. CSSWE then completed a 20 day system commissioning phase which validated the performance of the communications, power, and attitude control systems. This was immediately followed by an accelerated 24 hour REPTile commissioning period in time for a geomagnetic storm. The high quality, low noise science data return from REPTile is complementary to the NASA Van Allen Probes mission, which launched two weeks prior to CSSWE. On September 13, 2013, CSSWE completed one year of on-orbit operations. In this talk we will discuss the issues encountered with designing and operating a cubesat in orbit. Data from the mission will be presented and discussed in the larger context of ionospheric and magnetospheric physics.

Palo, Scott; Gerhardt, David; Li, Xinlin; Blum, Lauren; Schiller, Quintin; Kohnert, Rick;

Published by:       Published on: 01/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1109/USNC-URSI-NRSM.2014.6928087

artificial satellites; atmospheric measuring apparatus; Ionosphere; Magnetic Storms; Magnetosphere; Van Allen Probes


New conjunctive CubeSat and balloon measurements to quantify rapid energetic electron precipitation

Relativistic electron precipitation into the atmosphere can contribute significant losses to the outer radiation belt. In particular, rapid narrow precipitation features termed precipitation bands have been hypothesized to be an integral contributor to relativistic electron precipitation loss, but quantification of their net effect is still needed. Here we investigate precipitation bands as measured at low earth orbit by the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat. Two precipitation bands of MeV electrons were observed on 18\textendash19 January 2013, concurrent with precipitation seen by the 2013 Balloon Array for Radiation belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) campaign. The newly available conjugate measurements allow for a detailed estimate of the temporal and spatial features of precipitation bands for the first time. We estimate the net electron loss due to the precipitation bands and find that ~20 such events could empty the entire outer belt. This study suggests that precipitation bands play a critical role in radiation belt losses.

Blum, L.; Schiller, Q.; Li, X.; Millan, R.; Halford, A.; Woodger, L.;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 11/2013

YEAR: 2013     DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058546

CubeSats; precipitation; Radiation belts; Van Allen Probes

First Results from CSSWE CubeSat: Characteristics of Relativistic Electrons in the Near-Earth Environment During the October 2012 Magnetic Storms

Measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile) on board the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat mission, which was launched into a highly inclined (65\textdegree) low Earth orbit, are analyzed along with measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) and the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) instruments aboard the Van Allen Probes, which are in a low inclination (10\textdegree) geo-transfer-like orbit. Both REPT and MagEIS measure the full distribution of energetic electrons as they traverse the heart of the outer radiation belt. However, due to the small equatorial loss cone (only a few degrees), it is difficult for REPT and MagEIS to directly determine which electrons will precipitate into the atmosphere, a major radiation belt loss process. REPTile, a miniaturized version of REPT, measures the fraction of the total electron population that has small enough equatorial pitch angles to reach the altitude of CSSWE, 480 km \texttimes 780 km, thus measuring the precipitating population as well as the trapped and quasi-trapped populations. These newly available measurements provide an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the source, loss, and energization processes that are responsible for the dynamic behavior of outer radiation belt electrons. The focus of this paper will be on the characteristics of relativistic electrons measured by REPTile during the October 2012 storms; also included are long-term measurements from the Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer to put this study into context.

Li, X.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Califf, S.; Zhao, H.; Tu, W.; Turner, D.; Gerhardt, D.; Palo, S.; Kanekal, S.; Baker, D.; Fennell, J.; Blake, J.; Looper, M.; Reeves, G.; Spence, H.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2013

YEAR: 2013     DOI: 10.1002/2013JA019342

RBSP; Van Allen Probes