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Characteristics of the high-latitude ionospheric particle sources: Transversely accelerated ions (TAI) at 1400 km

Advances in Space Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(85)90129-2


Abstract The auroral acceleration process that produces transversely accelerated ions is studied in detail using data primarily from a single auroral oval crossing of the ISIS-2 satellite at 1400 km. This data set is of significance because a special operational mode of the soft particle spectrometers allowed unusual temporal and pitch angle resolution to be obtained. We conclude that transversely accelerated ions having a sharp cutoff in pitch angle were accompanied by the emission of a VLF saucer and the simultaneous occurrence of an upstreaming electron beam. In contrast to the very flat pitch angle distribution of the ions, the highly field-aligned upstreaming electrons (well inside the loss cone) accompanying the ions seem to imply the existence of downward directed electric field parallel to B below 1400 km with net potentials in excess of 200 volts. The occurrence of such field-aligned electrons and VLF saucers in association with some transversely accelerated ions provides additional information on the acceleration process and reveals the complexity of the active flux tube.

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