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Large-scale Altitude Distribution Profile of Auroral Parallel Electric Potentials: A Statistical Analysis of Cluster Data
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. (Onboard Space Systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1948-0054
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Institute for Aerospace Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4977-6339
2019 (English)In: Advances in Space Research, ISSN 0273-1177, E-ISSN 1879-1948, Vol. 64, no 2, p. 378-384Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is generally believed that the heart of the Auroral Acceleration Region (AAR) is located between 5000 and 8000 km altitude above the auroral oval. Various altitude distribution profiles are suggested by different theories, including the transition layer model, which predicts that the strongest electric fields can be found at about 1 RE, and can vary depending on the plasma and geomagnetic conditions. However, there have been no specific experimental results that cover regions both below and well above such altitude. This paper presents a method for obtaining such a profile from AAR satellite crossings, applies it to a data set gathered from 116 Cluster spacecraft encounters with acceleration potential structures, and discusses the results. The crossings cover an altitude range between 0.63 RE and 2.9 RE. The outcome is the first empirical altitude distribution profile of the auroral acceleration potentials. The results suggest that the region within the altitude range of 0.9245 RE and 1.158 RE statistically contains 30% of the total potential, which is the largest fraction of the parallel potentials among all altitude segments of the same size. The altitude which equally divides the distribution of acceleration potentials was found at 1.076 RE (6863 km). The obtained parallel potential distribution is in agreement with both the magnetic mirror force theory and the transition layer model, and can hence provide a proper baseline for future missions to the AAR.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 64, no 2, p. 378-384
Keywords [en]
Auroral acceleration region, Auroral electric potential structures, Multi-spacecraft, Cluster data
National Category
Natural Sciences Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Onboard space systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-73585DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2019.03.043ISI: 000472699000006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85064015424OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-73585DiVA, id: diva2:1304040
Note

Validerad;2019;Nivå 2;2019-07-12 (johcin)

Available from: 2019-04-11 Created: 2019-04-11 Last updated: 2019-07-12Bibliographically approved

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Sadeghi, SoheilEmami, Reza

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