Link between premidnight second harmonic poloidal waves and auroral undulations: Conjugate observations with a Van Allen Probe spacecraft and a THEMIS all-sky imager

T. Motoba, K. Takahashi, A. Ukhorskiy, M. Gkioulidou, D. G. Mitchell, L. J. Lanzerotti, G. I. Korotova, E. F. Donovan, J. R. Wygant, C. A. Kletzing, W. S. Kurth, J. B. Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report, for the first time, an auroral undulation event on 1 May 2013 observed by the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms (THEMIS) all-sky imager (ASI) at Athabasca (L = 4.6), Canada, for which in situ field and particle measurements in the conjugate magnetosphere were available from a Van Allen Probe spacecraft. The ASI observed a train of auroral undulation structures emerging spontaneously in the premidnight subauroral ionosphere during the growth phase of a substorm. The undulations had an azimuthal wavelength of ~180 km and propagated westward at a speed of 3-4 km s-1. The successive passage over an observing point yielded quasiperiodic oscillations in diffuse auroral emissions with a period of ~40 s. The azimuthal wave number m of the auroral luminosity oscillations was found to be m~-103. During the event, the spacecraft - being on tailward stretched field lines ~0.5 RE outside the plasmapause that mapped into the ionosphere conjugate to the auroral undulations - encountered intense poloidal ULF oscillations in the magnetic and electric fields. We identify the field oscillations to be the second harmonic mode along the magnetic field line through comparisons of the observed wave properties with theoretical predictions. The field oscillations were accompanied by oscillations in proton and electron fluxes. Most interestingly, both field and particle oscillations at the spacecraft had one-to-one association with the auroral luminosity oscillations around its footprint. Our findings strongly suggest that this auroral undulation event is closely linked to the generation of second harmonic poloidal waves. Key points We report conjugate space-ground observations for an undulation event The auroral undulations concur with second harmonic poloidal waves A common periodic signature is found in the conjugate aurora and magnetosphere

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1814-1831
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume120
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Keywords

  • auroral undulations
  • second harmonic waves
  • wave-particle interactions

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