Cluster satellites observed three successive outflowing ion beams on 28 March, 2001. It is generally accepted that these ion beams, composed of H+, He+, and O+ ions, with three inverted-V structures in their energy spectra, are produced by acceleration through U-shaped potential structures. By eliminating the background ion population and employing Maxwelling fitting, we find that ions coming from the center of the potential structure have higher temperature than those from the flanks. Higher temperature of O+ and He+ compared to that of H+ indicates that heavy ions are preferentially heated; we further infer that the heating efficiencies of O+ and He+ ions differ between the center and edges of the U-shaped potential structures. Estimation based on pitch angle observations shows that heating may also occur at an altitude above the upper boundary of the auroral acceleration region (AAR), where these beams are generally thought to be formed.
Earth’s aurora is a luminescent phenomenon generated by the interaction between magnetospheric precipitating particles and the upper atmosphere; it plays an important role in magnetosphere–ionosphere (M-I) coupling. The transpolar arc (TPA) is a discrete auroral arc distributed in the noon-midnight direction poleward of the auroral oval and connects the dayside to the nightside sectors of the auroral oval. Studying the seasonal variation of TPA events can help us better understand the long-term variation of the interaction between the solar wind, the magnetosphere, and M-I coupling. However, a statistical study of the seasonal variation of TPA incidence has not previously been carried out. In this paper, we have identified 532 TPA events from the IMAGE database (2000–2005) and the Polar database (1996–2002), and calculated the incidence of TPA events for different months. We find a semiannual variation in TPA incidence. Clear peaks in the incidence of TPAs occur in March and September; a less pronounced peak appears in November. We also examine seasonal variation in the northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) over the same time period. The intensity and occurrence rate of the northward IMF exhibit patterns similar to that of the TPA incidence. Having studied IMF Bz before TPA onset, we find that strong and steady northward IMF conditions are favorable for TPA formation. We suggest that the semiannual variation observed in TPA incidence may be related to the Russell–McPherron (R-M) effect due to the projection effect of the IMF By under northward IMF conditions.
The purpose of this paper is to understand how low energy plasmaspheric electrons respond to ULF waves excited by interplanetary shocks impinging on magnetosphere. It is found that both energy and pitch angle dispersed plasmaspheric electrons with energy of a few eV to tens of eV can be generated simultaneously by the interplanetary shock. The subsequent period of successive dispersion signatures is around 40 s and is consistent with the ULF wave period (third harmonic). By tracing back the energy and pitch angle dispersion signatures, the position of the electron injection region is found to be off-equator at around –32° in the southern hemisphere. This can be explained as the result of injected electrons being accelerated by higher harmonic ULF waves (e.g. third harmonic) which carry a larger amplitude electric field off-equator. The dispersion signatures are due to the flux modulations (or accelerations) of " local” plasmaspheric electrons rather than electrons from the ionosphere. With the observed wave-borne large electric field excited by the interplanetary shock impact, the kinetic energy can increase to a maximum of 23 percent in one bouncing cycle for plasmaspheric electrons satisfying the drift-bounce resonance condition by taking account of both the corotating drift and bounce motion of the local plasmaspheric electron.