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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 article DOI: 10.1038/316612a0

Abstract/Summary

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.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38913
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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