Energy Characteristics of Auroral Electron Precipitation: A Comparison of Substorms and Pressure Pulse Related Auroral Activity

Journal of Geophysical Research (Impact Factor: 3.17). 02/2000; DOI: 10.1029/2000JA003027
Source: NTRS

ABSTRACT The Polar Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) observes auroral responses to incident solar wind pressure pulses and interplanetary shocks such as those associated with coronal mass ejections. The arrival of a CME pressure pulse at the front of the magnetosphere results in highly disturbed geomagnetic conditions and a substantial increase in both dayside and nightside auroral precipitation. Our observations show a simultaneous brightening over broad areas of the dayside and nightside aurora in response to a pressure pulse, indicating that more magnetospheric regions participate as sources for auroral precipitation than during isolated substorms. We estimate the average energies of incident auroral electrons using Polar UVI images and compare the precipitation energies during pressure pulse associated events to those during isolated auroral substorms. Electron precipitation during substorms has average energies greater than 10 keV and is structured both in local time and magnetic latitude. For auroral intensifications following the arrival of a pressure pulse or interplanetary shock, electron precipitation is less spatially structured and has greater ux of lower energy electrons (Eave _ 7 keV) than during isolated substorm, onsets. The average energies of the precipitating electrons inferred from UVI are consistent with those measured in-situ by the FAST spacecraft. These observations quantify the differences between global and local auroral precipitation processes and will provide a valuable experimental check for models of sudden storm commencements and magnetospheric response to perturbations in the solar wind.

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    ABSTRACT: 1] On April 28 2001, simultaneous global images of electron and proton aurora were obtained by IMAGE-FUV following a sudden increase of solar wind dynamic pressure. The local time and intensity distribution of both types of precipitation are examined and compared. It is found that the electron and the proton precipitation both start in the post noon sector and expand concurrently, but the expansion into the nightside starts sooner for the protons than for the electrons. The characteristic rise time in the onset sector is on the order of 6 minutes. A distinct dynamics and morphology of electron and proton precipitation is observed in the nightside sector. DMSP electron measurements in the afternoon sector indicate that the shock has a significant effect on the electron spectral characteristics. It is suggested that the various Alfven frequencies generated by the shock account for the two different speeds of propagation of the disturbance.
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    ABSTRACT: superposed epoch analysis is performed to investigate the relative impact of the solar wind/interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) on geomagnetic activity, auroral hemispheric power, and auroral morphology during corotating interaction regions (CIRs) events between 2002 and 2007, when auroral images from Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics/Global Ultraviolet Imager were available. Four categories of CIRs have been compared. These were classified by the averaged IMF Bz and the time of maximum solar wind dynamic pressure around the CIR stream interface or onset time. It is found that during CIR events: (1) The peaks of auroral power and Kp were largely associated with dominant southward Bz, whereas auroral activity also became stronger with increases of solar wind speed, density, and dynamic pressure. (2) The percentage and absolute increases of auroral hemispheric power with solar wind speed were much greater under dominantly northward Bz conditions than under dominantly southward Bz conditions. (3) The enhancement of the auroral power and Kp with increasing solar wind speed followed the same pattern, for both dominantly southward and northward Bz conditions, regardless of the behavior of solar wind density and dynamic pressure. These results suggest that, during CIR events, southward Bz played the most critical role in determining geomagnetic and auroral activity, whereas solar wind speed was the next most important contributor. The solar wind dynamic pressure was the less important factor, as compared with Bz and solar wind speed. Relatively strong auroral precipitation energy flux (> ~3 mW/m2) occurred in a wider auroral oval region after the stream interface than before it for both dominantly northward and southward Bz conditions. These conditions enhanced the auroral hemispheric power after the stream interface. Intense auroral precipitation (> ~4 mW/m2) generally occurred widely at night under dominantly southward Bz conditions, but the location of this precipitation in the auroral oval was different when it was associated with different solar wind density and speed conditions.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 03/2013; 118(3):1255-1269. · 3.17 Impact Factor