Large amplitude whistlers in the magnetosphere observed with Wind-Waves

P. J. Kellogg, C. A. Cattell, K. Goetz, S. J. Monson, L. B. Wilson

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We describe the results of a statistical survey of Wind-Waves data motivated by the recent STEREO/Waves discovery of large-amplitude whistlers in the inner magnetosphere. Although Wind was primarily intended to monitor the solar wind, the spacecraft spent 47 h inside 5 RE and 431 h inside 10 RE during the 8 years (1994-2002) that it orbited the Earth. Five episodes were found when whistlers had amplitudes comparable to those of Cattell et al. (2008), i.e., electric fields of 100 mV/m or greater. The whistlers usually occurred near the plasmapause. The observations are generally consistent with the whistlers observed by STEREO. In contrast with STEREO, Wind-Waves had a search coil, so magnetic measurements are available, enabling determination of the wave vector without a model. Eleven whistler events with useable magnetic measurements were found. The wave vectors of these are distributed around the magnetic field direction with angles from 4 to 48°. Approximations to observed electron distribution functions show a Kennel-Petschek instability which, however, does not seem to produce the observed whistlers. One Wind episode was sampled at 120,000 samples s-1, and these events showed a signature that is interpreted as trapping of electrons in the electrostatic potential of an oblique whistler. Similar waveforms are found in the STEREO data. In addition to the whistler waves, large amplitude, short duration solitary waves (up to 100 mV/m), presumed to be electron holes, occur in these passes, primarily on plasma sheet field lines mapping to the auroral zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA09224
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2011


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