Large electric fields in the magnetosphere

F. S. Mozer, M. H. Boehm, C. A. Cattell, M. Temerin, J. R. Wygant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In several regions of the magnetosphere, perpendicular and/or parallel electric fields are found to be orders-of-magnitude larger than expected from simple considerations. Problems associated with these large fields that may be amenable to study through computer simulations are discussed. Regions in which large electric fields are observed include: a) The auroral ionosphere, where Langmuir soliton-like structures have been measured to contain plasma frequency oscillations as large as 500 mV/m, the envelopes of which have parallel electric fields of ∼100 mV/m lasting for fractions of a millisecond; b) The auroral acceleration region, where electrostatic shocks have been observed to contain perpendicular fields as large as 1000 mV/m and parallel fields as large as 100 mV/m, and where double layers having parallel fields up to 10 mV/m have been observed; c) The high latitude boundary of the plasma sheet, where turbulent electric fields as large as 100 mV/m have been seen along with quasi-static fields of 5-10 mV/m; d) Inside the plasma sheet, where fields of 5-10 mV/m have frequently been observed; e) The bow shock, where turbulent fields as large as 100 mV/m and d.c. fields of ∼5 mV/m normal to the shock have been seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-335
Number of pages23
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1985


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