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Electron trapping in shear Alfvén waves that power the aurora

Watt, C. E. J. and Rankin, R. (2009) Electron trapping in shear Alfvén waves that power the aurora. Physical Review Letters, 102. 045002. ISSN 0031-9007

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.045002


Results from 1D Vlasov drift-kinetic plasma simulations reveal how and where auroral electrons are accelerated along Earth’s geomagnetic field. In the warm plasma sheet, electrons become trapped in shear Alfven waves, preventing immediate wave damping. As waves move to regions with larger vTe=vA, their parallel electric field decreases, and the trapped electrons escape their influence. The resulting electron distribution functions compare favorably with in situ observations, demonstrating for the first time a self-consistent link between Alfven waves and electrons that form aurora.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32818
Publisher:American Physical Society


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