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Found 12 entries in the Bibliography.

Showing entries from 1 through 12


Can Earth’s magnetotail plasma sheet produce a source of relativistic electrons for the radiation belts?

Abstract Simultaneous observations from Van Allen Probes (RBSP) in Earth’s outer radiation belt (∼4-6 RE) and Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) in the magnetotail plasma sheet at >20 RE geocentric distance are used to compare relative levels of relativistic electron phase space density (PSD) for constant values of the first adiabatic invariant, M. We present new evidence from two events showing: i) at times, there is sufficient PSD in the central plasma sheet to provide a source of >1 MeV electrons into the outer belt; ii) the most intense levels of relativistic electrons are not accelerated in the solar wind or transported from the inner magnetosphere and thus must be accelerated rapidly (within ∼minutes or less) and efficiently across a broad region of the magnetotail itself; and iii) the highest intensity relativistic electrons observed by MMS were confined within only the central plasma sheet. The answer to the title question here is: yes, it can, however whether Earth’s plasma sheet actually does provide a source of several 100s keV to >1 MeV electrons to the outer belt and how often it does so remain important outstanding questions.

Turner, Drew; Cohen, Ian; Michael, Adam; Sorathia, Kareem; Merkin, Slava; Mauk, Barry; Ukhorskiy, Sasha; Murphy, Kyle; Gabrielse, Christine; Boyd, Alexander; Fennell, Joseph; Blake, Bernard; Claudepierre, Seth; Drozdov, Alexander; Jaynes, Allison; Ripoll, Jean-Francois; Reeves, Geoffrey;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 09/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

Radiation belts; plasma sheet; Particle acceleration; relativistic electrons; inner magnetosphere; magnetotail; Van Allen Probes

Observations of density cavities and associated warm ion flux enhancements in the inner magnetosphere

Abstract We present a statistical study of density cavities observed in the inner magnetosphere by the Van Allen Probes during four one-month periods: February 2013, July 2013, January 2014 and June 2014. These periods were chosen to allow the survey of all magnetic local times. We find that density cavities are a recurrent feature of the density profiles of in situ measurements in the inner magnetosphere. We further investigate the correlation between the density cavities and the enhancement of fluxes of warm ions with energies of 10-100 eV. The results show that warm ion flux enhancements associated with the density cavities were observed more frequently for H+, then for He+ and the least frequently for O+. The occurrences of the associated flux enhancements were increased when considering only the cavities inside the plasmasphere. Possible mechanisms responsible for the observed warm ion flux enhancements and the role of density cavities on these ion flux enhancements are discussed.

Ferradas, C.; Boardsen, S.; Fok, M.-C.; Buzulukova, N.; Reeves, G.; Larsen, B.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 02/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

Magnetosphere: inner; plasmasphere; magnetospheric configuration and dynamics; plasma waves and instabilities; plasma sheet; density cavity; cold ion heating; cold ions; warm Plasma cloak; Van Allen Probes


Plasma anisotropies and currents in the near-Earth plasma sheet and inner magnetosphere

The region occupying radial distances of \~3 - 9 Earth radii (RE) in the night side, includes the near-Earth plasma sheet with stretched magnetic field lines and the inner magnetosphere with strong dipolar magnetic field. In this region, the plasma flow energy, which was injected into the inner magnetosphere from the magnetotail, is converted to particle heating and electromagnetic wave generation. These important processes are controlled by plasma anisotropies, which are the focus of this study. Using measurements of THEMIS and Van Allen Probes in this transition region we obtain radial profiles of ion and electron temperatures and anisotropies for various geomagnetic activity levels. Ion and electron anisotropies vary with the geomagnetic activity in opposite directions. Parallel anisotropic ions are observed together with transversely anisotropic electrons, whereas the change of ion anisotropy from parallel to transverse (with increasing Kp) is accompanied by the electron anisotropy changing from transverse to parallel. Based on plasma anisotropy observations, we estimate that the anisotropy-related currents (curvature currents) are about 10 - 20\% of the diamagnetic currents.

Artemyev, A.; Zhang, X.-J.; Angelopoulos, V.; Runov, A.; Spence, H.; Larsen, B.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 06/2018

YEAR: 2018     DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025232

injections; inner magnetosphere; plasma currents; plasma sheet; Van Allen Probes


The Evolution of the Plasma Sheet Ion Composition: Storms and Recoveries

The ion plasma sheet (~few hundred eV to ~few 10s keV) is usually dominated by H+ ions. Here, changes in ion composition within the plasma sheet are explored both during individual events, and statistically during 54 calm-to-storm events and during 21 active-to-calm events. Ion composition data from the HOPE (Helium, Oxygen, Proton, Electron) instruments onboard Van Allen Probes satellites provide exceptional spatial and temporal resolution of the H+, O+, and He+ ion fluxes in the plasma sheet. H+ shown to be the dominant ion in the plasma sheet in the calm-to-storm transition. However, the energy-flux of each ion changes in a quasi-linear manner during extended calm intervals. Heavy ions (O+ and He+) become increasingly important during such periods as charge-exchange reactions result in faster loss for H+ than for O+ or He+. Results confirm previous investigations showing that the ion composition of the plasma sheet can be largely understood (and predicted) during calm intervals from knowledge of: (a) the composition of previously injected plasma at the onset of calm conditions, and (b) use of simple drift-physics models combined with calculations of charge-exchange losses.

Denton, M.; Thomsen, M.; Reeves, G.; Larsen, B.; Henderson, M.; Jordanova, V.; Fernandes, P.; Friedel, R.; Skoug, R.; Funsten, H.; MacDonald, E.; Spence, H.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2017

YEAR: 2017     DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024475

plasma sheet; Van Allen Probes

Multipoint observations of energetic particle injections and substorm activity during a conjunction between Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) and Van Allen Probes

This study examines multipoint observations during a conjunction between MMS and Van Allen Probes on 07 April 2016 in which a series of energetic particle injections occurred. With complementary data from THEMIS, Geotail, and LANL-GEO (16 spacecraft in total), we develop new insights on the nature of energetic particle injections associated with substorm activity. Despite this case involving only weak substorm activity (max. AE < 300 nT) during quiet geomagnetic conditions in steady, below-average solar wind, a complex series of at least six different electron injections was observed throughout the system. Intriguingly, only one corresponding ion injection was clearly observed. All ion and electron injections were observed at < 600 keV only. MMS reveals detailed substructure within the largest electron injection. A relationship between injected electrons with energy < 60 keV and enhanced whistler-mode chorus wave activity is also established from Van Allen Probes and MMS. Drift mapping using a simplified magnetic field model provides estimates of the dispersionless injection boundary locations as a function of universal time, magnetic local time, and L-shell. The analysis reveals that at least five electron injections, which were localized in magnetic local time, preceded a larger injection of both electrons and ions across nearly the entire nightside of the magnetosphere near geosynchronous orbit. The larger, ion and electron injection did not penetrate to L < 6.6, but several of the smaller, electron injections penetrated to L < 6.6. Due to the discrepancy between the number, penetration depth, and complexity of electron vs. ion injections, this event presents challenges to the current conceptual models of energetic particle injections.

Turner, D.; Fennell, J.; Blake, J.; Claudepierre, S.; Clemmons, J.; Jaynes, A.; Leonard, T.; Baker, D.; Cohen, I.; Gkioulidou, M.; Ukhorskiy, A; Mauk, B.; Gabrielse, C.; Angelopoulos, V.; Strangeway, R.; Kletzing, C.; Le Contel, O.; Spence, H.; Torbert, R.; Burch, J.; Reeves, G.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 09/2017

YEAR: 2017     DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024554

energetic particles; injections; inner magnetosphere; plasma sheet; substorms; Van Allen Probes; wave-particle interactions

A multi-spacecraft event study of Pc5 ultra low frequency waves in the magnetosphere and their external drivers

We investigate a quiet-time event of magnetospheric Pc5 ultra low frequency (ULF) waves and their likely external drivers using multiple spacecraft observations. Enhancements of electric and magnetic field perturbations in two narrow frequency bands, 1.5-2 mHz and 3.5-4 mHz, were observed over a large radial distance range from r ~5 to 11 RE. During the first half of this event, perturbations were mainly observed in the transverse components and only in the 3.5-4 mHz band. In comparison, enhancements were stronger during the second half in both transverse and compressional components and in both frequency bands. No indication of field line resonances was found for these magnetic field perturbations. Perturbations in these two bands were also observed in the magnetosheath, but not in the solar wind dynamic pressure perturbations. For the first interval, good correlations between the flow perturbations in the magnetosphere and magnetosheath and an indirect signature for Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) vortices suggest K-H surface waves as the driver. For the second interval, good correlations are found between the magnetosheath dynamic pressure perturbations, magnetopause deformation, and magnetospheric waves, all in good correspondence to IMF discontinuities. The characteristics of these perturbations can be explained by being driven by foreshock perturbations resulting from these IMF discontinuities. This event shows that even during quiet periods, KH-unstable magnetopause and ion foreshock perturbations can combine to create a highly dynamic magnetospheric ULF wave environment.

Wang, Chih-Ping; Thorne, Richard; Liu, Terry; Hartinger, Michael; Nagai, Tsugunobu; Angelopoulos, Vassilis; Wygant, John; Breneman, Aaron; Kletzing, Craig; Reeves, Geoffrey; Claudepierre, Seth; Spence, Harlan;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 04/2017

YEAR: 2017     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023610

IMF discontinuity; inner magnetosphere; Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices; magnetosheath; Pc5 waves; plasma sheet; Van Allen Probes


Ion nose spectral structures observed by the Van Allen Probes

We present a statistical study of nose-like structures observed in energetic hydrogen, helium, and oxygen ions near the inner edge of the plasma sheet. Nose structures are spectral features named after the characteristic shapes of energy bands or gaps in the energy-time spectrograms of in situ measured ion fluxes. Using 22 months of observations from the Helium Oxygen Proton Electron (HOPE) instrument onboard Van Allen Probe A, we determine the number of noses observed, and the minimum L-shell reached and energy of each nose on each pass through the inner magnetosphere. We find that multiple noses occur more frequently in heavy ions than in H+, and are most often observed during quiet times. The heavy-ion noses penetrate to lower L shells than H+ noses and there is an energy-magnetic local time (MLT) dependence in the nose locations and energies that is similar for all species. The observations are interpreted using a steady-state model of ion drift in the inner magnetosphere. The model is able to explain the energy and MLT dependence of the different types of nose structures. Different ion charge exchange lifetimes are the main cause for the deeper penetration of heavy-ion noses. The species dependence and preferred geomagnetic conditions of multiple-nose events indicate that they must be on long drift paths, leading to strong charge-exchange effects. The results provide important insight into the spatial distribution, species dependence, and geomagnetic conditions under which nose structures occur.

Ferradas, C.; Zhang, J.-C.; Spence, H.; Kistler, L.; Larsen, B.; Reeves, G.; Skoug, R.; Funsten, H.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 11/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022942

inner magnetosphere; ion injection; Ion structure; plasma sheet; ring current; Van Allen Probes

Energy limits of electron acceleration in the plasma sheet during substorms: A case study with the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission

We present multipoint observations of earthward moving dipolarization fronts and energetic particle injections from NASA\textquoterights Magnetospheric Multiscale mission with a focus on electron acceleration. From a case study during a substorm on 02 August 2015, we find that electrons are only accelerated over a finite energy range, from a lower energy threshold at ~7\textendash9 keV up to an upper energy cutoff in the hundreds of keV range. At energies lower than the threshold energy, electron fluxes decrease, potentially due to precipitation by strong parallel electrostatic wavefields or initial sources in the lobes. Electrons at energies higher than the threshold are accelerated cumulatively by a series of impulsive magnetic dipolarization events. This case demonstrates how the upper energy cutoff increases, in this case from ~130 keV to >500 keV, with each dipolarization/injection during sustained activity. We also present a simple model accounting for these energy limits that reveals that electron energization is dominated by betatron acceleration.

Turner, D.; Fennell, J.; Blake, J.; Clemmons, J.; Mauk, B.; Cohen, I.; Jaynes, A.; Craft, J.; Wilder, F.; Baker, D.; Reeves, G.; Gershman, D.; Avanov, L.; Dorelli, J.; Giles, B.; Pollock, C.; Schmid, D.; Nakamura, R.; Strangeway, R.; Russell, C.; Artemyev, A.; Runov, A.; Angelopoulos, V.; Spence, H.; Torbert, R.; Burch, J.;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 08/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069691

energetic particle injections; magnetotail; Particle acceleration; plasma sheet; reconnection; substorm; Van Allen Probes

The Source of O + in the Storm-time Ring Current

A stretched and compressed geomagnetic field occurred during the main phase of a geomagnetic storm on 1 June 2013. During the storm the Van Allen Probes spacecraft made measurements of the plasma sheet boundary layer, and observed large fluxes of O+ ions streaming up the field line from the nightside auroral region. Prior to the storm main phase there was an increase in the hot (>1 keV) and more isotropic O+ions in the plasma sheet. In the spacecraft inbound pass through the ring current region during the storm main phase, the H+ and O+ ions were significantly enhanced. We show that this enhanced inner magnetosphere ring current population is due to the inward adiabatic convection of the plasma sheet ion population. The energy range of the O+ ion plasma sheet that impacts the ring current most is found to be from ~5 to 60 keV. This is in the energy range of the hot population that increased prior to the start of the storm main phase, and the ion fluxes in this energy range only increase slightly during the extended outflow time interval. Thus, the auroral outflow does not have a significant impact on the ring current during the main phase. The auroral outflow is transported to the inner magnetosphere, but does not reach high enough energies to affect the energy density. We conclude that the more energetic O+ that entered the plasma sheet prior to the main phase and that dominates the ring current is likely from the cusp.

Kistler, L.M.; Mouikis, C.; Spence, H.E.; Menz, A.M.; Skoug, R.M.; Funsten, H.O.; Larsen, B.A.; Mitchell, D.G.; Gkioulidou, M.; Wygant, J.R.; Lanzerotti, L.J.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 05/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA022204

Geomagnetic storm; Ionosphere; oxygen; plasma sheet; Plasma Sources; ring current; Van Allen Probes


Heavy-ion dominance near Cluster perigees

Time periods in which heavy ions dominate over H+ in the energy range of 1-40 keV were observed by the Cluster Ion Spectrometry (CIS)/COmposition DIstribution Function (CODIF) instrument onboard Cluster Spacecraft 4 at L-values less than 4. The characteristic feature is a narrow flux peak at around 10 keV that extends into low L-values, with He+ and/or O+ dominating. In the present work we perform a statistical study of these events and examine their temporal occurrence and spatial distribution. The observed features, both the narrow energy range and the heavy-ion dominance, can be interpreted using a model of ion drift from the plasma sheet, subject to charge exchange losses. The narrow energy range corresponds to the only energy range that has direct drift access from the plasma sheet during quiet times. The drift time to these locations from the plasma sheet is > 30 hours, so that charge exchange has a significant impact on the population. We show that a simple drift/loss model can explain the dependence on L-shell and MLT of these heavy-ion-dominant time periods.

Ferradas, C.; Zhang, J.-C.; Kistler, L.; Spence, H.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021063

charge exchange; Cluster; heavy ions; inner magnetosphere; plasma sheet; ring current

Azimuthal flow bursts in the Inner Plasma Sheet and Possible Connection with SAPS and Plasma Sheet Earthward Flow Bursts

We have combined radar observations and auroral images obtained during the PFISR Ion Neutral Observations in the Thermosphere campaign to show the common occurrence of westward moving, localized auroral brightenings near the auroral equatorward boundary and to show their association with azimuthally moving flow bursts near or within the SAPS region. These results indicate that the SAPS region, rather than consisting of relatively stable proton precipitation and westward flows, can have rapidly varying flows, with speeds varying from ~100 m/s to ~1 km/s in just a few minutes. The auroral brightenings are associated with bursts of weak electron precipitation that move westward with the westward flow bursts and extend into the SAPS region. Additionally, our observations show evidence that the azimuthally moving flow bursts often connect to earthward (equatorward in the ionosphere) plasma sheet flow bursts. This indicates that rather than stopping or bouncing, some flow bursts turn azimuthally after reaching the inner plasma sheet and lead to the bursts of strong azimuthal flow. Evidence is also seen for a general guiding of the flow bursts by the large-scale convection pattern, flow bursts within the duskside convection being azimuthally turned to the west and those within the dawn cell being turned toward the east. The possibility that the SAPS-region flow structures considered here may be connected to localized flow enhancements from the polar cap that cross the nightside auroral poleward boundary and lead to flow bursts within the plasma sheet warrants further consideration.

Lyons, L.; Nishimura, Y.; Gallardo-Lacourt, B.; Nicolls, M.; Chen, S.; Hampton, D.; Bristow, W.; Ruohoniemi, J.; Nishitani, N.; Donovan, E.; Angelopoulos, V.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 05/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021023

aurora; convection; Flow bursts; plasma sheet; SAPS; streamers

Electric field structures and waves at plasma boundaries in the inner magnetosphere

Recent observations by the Van Allen Probes spacecraft have demonstrated that a variety of electric field structures and nonlinear waves frequently occur in the inner terrestrial magnetosphere, including phase space holes, kinetic field line resonances, nonlinear whistler mode waves, and several types of double layer. However, it is unclear whether such structures and waves have a significant impact on the dynamics of the inner magnetosphere, including the radiation belts and ring current. To make progress toward quantifying their importance, this study statistically evaluates the correlation of such structures and waves with plasma boundaries. A strong correlation is found. These statistical results, combined with observations of electric field activity at propagating plasma boundaries, are consistent with the scenario that the sources of the free energy for the structures and waves of interest are localized near and comove with these boundaries. Therefore, the ability of these structures and waves to influence plasma in the inner magnetosphere is governed in part by the spatial extent and dynamics of macroscopic plasma boundaries in that region.

Malaspina, David; Wygant, John; Ergun, Robert; Reeves, Geoff; Skoug, Ruth; Larsen, Brian;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 05/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021137

injection; inner magnetosphere; nonlinear electric field structures; plasma boundary; plasma sheet; Van Allen Probes