Survey of cold ionospheric outflows in the magnetotail
2009 (English)In: Annales Geophysicae, ISSN 0992-7689, E-ISSN 1432-0576, Vol. 27, no 8, 3185-3201 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Low-energy ions escape from the ionosphere and constitute a large part of the magnetospheric content, especially in the geomagnetic tail lobes. However, they are normally invisible to spacecraft measurements, since the potential of a sunlit spacecraft in a tenuous plasma in many cases exceeds the energy-per-charge of the ions, and little is therefore known about their outflow properties far from the Earth. Here we present an extensive statistical study of cold ion outflows (0-60 eV) in the geomagnetic tail at geocentric distances from 5 to 19 R-E using the Cluster spacecraft during the period from 2001 to 2005. Our results were obtained by a new method, relying on the detection of a wake behind the spacecraft. We show that the cold ions dominate in both flux and density in large regions of the magnetosphere. Most of the cold ions are found to escape from the Earth, which improves previous estimates of the global outflow. The local outflow in the magnetotail corresponds to a global outflow of the order of 10(26) ions s(-1). The size of the outflow depends on different solar and magnetic activity levels.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 27, no 8, 3185-3201 p.
Cluster spacecraft, ion outflow, low-energy ions, polar wind, lobal wind, electric field measurements, atmospheric loss, magnetotail lobe
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Research subject Space and Plasma Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-100649DOI: 10.5194/angeo-27-3185-2009ISI: 000269440700021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-100649DiVA: diva2:210740