Article

Fine-time energetic electron behavior observed by Cluster/RAPID in the magnetotail associated with X-line formation and subsequent current disruption

01/2005; DOI: 10.5194/angeo-23-2265-2005
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Energetic electrons with 90deg pitch angle have been observed in the magnetotail at ~19 RE near local midnight during the recovery phase of a substorm event on 27 August 2001 (Baker et al., 2002). Based on auroral images Baker et al. (2002) placed the substorm expansion phase between ~04:06:16 and ~04:08:19 UT. The electron enhancements perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field occurred while the Cluster spacecraft were on closed field lines in the central plasma sheet approaching the neutral sheet. Magnetic field and energetic particle measurements have been employed from a number of satellites, in order to determine the source and the subsequent appearance of these electrons at the Cluster location. It is found that ~7.5 min after an X-line formation observed by Cluster (Baker et al., 2002) a current disruption event took place inside geosynchronous orbit and subsequently expanded both in local time and tailward, giving rise to field-aligned currents and the formation of a current wedge. A synthesis of tail reconnection and the cross-tail current disruption scenario is proposed for the substorm global initiation process: When a fast flow with northward magnetic field, produced by magnetic reconnection in the midtail, abruptly decelerates at the inner edge of the plasma sheet, it compresses the plasma populations earthward of the front, altering dynamically the Bz magnetic component in the current sheet. This provides the necessary and sufficient conditions for the kinetic cross-field streaming/current (KCSI/CFCI) instability (Lui et al., 1990, 1991) to initiate. As soon as the ionospheric conductance increases over a threshold level, the auroral electrojet is greatly intensified (see Fig. 2 in Baker et al., 2002), which leads to the formation of the substorm current wedge and dipolarization of the magnetic field. This substorm scenario combines the near-Earth neutral line and the current disruption for the initiation of substorms, at least during steady southward IMF. One can conclude the following: The observations suggest that the anisotropic electron increases observed by Cluster are not related to an acceleration mechanism associated with the X-line formation in the midtail, but rather these particles are generated in the dusk magnetospheric sector due to the longitudinal and tailward expansion of a current disruption region and subsequently observed at the Cluster location with no apparent energy dispersion.

Keywords. Magnetospheric physics (Magnetotail; Plasma convection; Storms and substorms)

0 Bookmarks
 · 
87 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Energetic electrons (E?30 keV) travelling along and perpendicular to the magnetic field lines have been observed in the magnetotail at L~17:00 and 22:00 MLT during the recovery phase of a storm-time substorm on 7 October 2002. Three-dimensional electron distributions of the full unit sphere obtained from the IES/RAPID sensor system demonstrated a rather complicated and random behavior of the energetic electrons. Occasionally these electrons were appearing to travel parallel, perpendicular, or in both directions, relative to the magnetic field direction, forming in this way bi-directional, perpendicular-peaked, and mixed distributions. The electron enhancements occurred while the Cluster spacecraft were on closed field lines in the central plasma sheet approaching the neutral sheet from the northern tail lobe. Magnetic field and energetic particle measurements have been used from geosynchronous and Cluster satellites, in order to describe the general context of the event and then give a possible interpretation regarding the occurrence of the electron anisotropies observed by the IES/RAPID spectrometer on board Cluster. According to geosynchronous measurements an electron dispersionless ejection is very well correlated with a dipolar re-configuration of the magnetic field. The latter fact supports the idea that electrons and, in general, particle ejections at geosynchronous altitude are directly related to electric fields arising from field dipolarization caused by current disruption. Also, having as a main objective the understanding of the way 3-D electron distributions are formed, we have analyzed electron energy spectra along and perpendicular to the magnetic field direction, demonstrating the fact that the electron population consists of two distinct components acting independently and in a random manner relative to each other. This leads to the conclusion that these two electron populations along and perpendicular to the field are generated at different remote locations at different rates. The main conclusion of the present paper is that the perpendicular-peaked electron enhancements (electrons with pitch angle around 90 degrees, subjected mainly to curvature drift) observed by Cluster are produced in a remote location duskward of the satellite location, due to the longitudinal and tailward expansion of a current disruption region, and subsequently transported to the Cluster location by means of curvature drift. On the other hand, bi-directional electrons (electrons with pitch angle around 0 and 180 degrees, bouncing mainly along the field lines) are believed to be generated in the vicinity of the neutral sheet or around an X-type region, as suggested by a plethora of previous studies. Finally, in the Discussion section, we make an attempt to present in a more thorough way the substorm model developed by Vogiatzis et al. (2005), which is intimately related to the importance of X-line formation for the initiation of a substorm.
    Annales Geophysicae 01/2006; · 1.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present Cluster multisatellite observations of accelerated electrons in the near-Earth magnetotail associated with substorms. We found that the hardest electron energy spectra appear in the earliest stage of substorm expansion in the near-Earth tail region and that they gradually become softer during the events. Enhancement of the high-energy electron flux occurs generally associated with the bulk acceleration of ions (fast flow) and electrons. It is also shown that the high-energy electrons sometimes show preferential perpendicular acceleration associated with the temporal enhancement of the normal component of the magnetic field, and then the anisotropic distribution quickly becomes isotropic. During the dipolarization interval, in which no convection signature is observed, perpendicular flux drops to less than the initial value, and the parallel flux is more than the perpendicular flux. The results suggest that the electron acceleration mechanism is mostly consistent with adiabatic betatron acceleration, while Fermi acceleration is not clear in the high-energy part. The effect of the pitch angle scattering is also important. The dispersive signature of the high-energy electron flux indicates fast dawnward drift loss, namely, the three-dimensional effect of the limited plasma acceleration region.
    Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 01/2010; · 3.44 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
14 Downloads
Available from
May 22, 2014