The geomagnetic mass spectrometer— mass and energy dispersions of ionospheric ion flows into the magnetosphere
Lockwood, M., Moore, T. E., Waite, J. H., Chappell, C. R., Horwitz, J. L. and Heelis, R. A. (1985) The geomagnetic mass spectrometer— mass and energy dispersions of ionospheric ion flows into the magnetosphere. Nature, 316 (6029). pp. 612-613. ISSN 0028-0836
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/316612a0
NASA's Dynamics Explorer (DE) mission was designed to study the coupling between the Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and neutral thermosphere1. One area of major interest is the outflow of ionospheric plasma into the magnetosphere, the scale and significance of which is only now becoming apparent with the advent of mass-resolving, low-energy ion detectors. Here we compare observations of ion flows in the polar magnetosphere, made by the retarding ion mass spectrometer (RIMS)2 on DE1, with those made simultaneously in the topside ionosphere by the ion drift meter (IDM)3 on the lower-altitude DE2 spacecraft. The results show the dayside auroral ionosphere to be a significant and highly persistent source of plasma for the magnetosphere. The upwelling ionospheric ions are spatially dispersed, according to both their energy and mass, by the combined actions of the geomagnetic field and the dawn-to-dusk convection electric field, in an effect analogous to the operation of an ion mass spectrometer.