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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics Year : 2012

Strong magnetic field fluctuations within filamentary auroral density cavities interpreted as VLF saucer sources

Abstract

[1] The Geoelectrodynamics and Electro-Optical Detection of Electron and Suprathermal Ion Currents (GEODESIC) sounding rocket encountered more than 100 filamentary density cavities associated with enhanced plasma waves at ELF (<3 kHz) and VLF (3–10 kHz) frequencies and at altitudes of 800–990 km during an auroral substorm. These cavities were similar in size ($20 m diameter in most cases) to so-called lower-hybrid cavities (LHCs) observed by previous sounding rockets and satellites; however, in contrast, many of the GEODESIC cavities exhibited up to tenfold enhancements in magnetic wave power throughout the VLF band. GEODESIC also observed enhancements of ELF and VLF electric fields both parallel and perpendicular to the geomagnetic field B 0 within cavities, though the VLF E field increases were often not as large proportionally as seen in the magnetic fields. This behavior is opposite to that predicted by previously published theories of LHCs based on passive scattering of externally incident auroral hiss. We argue that the GEODESIC cavities are active wave generation sites capable of radiating VLF waves into the surrounding plasma and producing VLF saucers, with energy supplied by cold, upward flowing electron beams composing the auroral return current. This interpretation is supported by the observation that the most intense waves, both inside and outside cavities, occurred in regions where energetic electron precipitation was largely inhibited or absent altogether. We suggest that the wave-enhanced cavities encountered by GEODESIC were qualitatively different from those observed by earlier spacecraft because of the fortuitous timing of the GEODESIC launch, which placed the payload at apogee within a substorm-related return current during its most intense phase, lasting only a few minutes.-L. Pinçon (2012), Strong magnetic field fluctuations within filamentary auroral density cavities interpreted as VLF saucer sources,
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insu-01179640 , version 1 (23-07-2015)

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D.J. Knudsen, R Kabirzadeh, J.K. Burchill, R.F. Pfaff, D.D. Wallis, et al.. Strong magnetic field fluctuations within filamentary auroral density cavities interpreted as VLF saucer sources. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, 2012, 117, A02217 (11 p.). ⟨10.1029/2011JA017316⟩. ⟨insu-01179640⟩
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