Mode identification of whistler mode, Z-mode, and Langmuir/Upper Hybrid mode waves observed in an auroral sounding rocket experiment

C. A. Colpitts, J. Labelle

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The SIERRA (Sounding of the Ion Energization Region - Resolving Ambiguities) rocket was launched to 735 km over an active auroral substorm from Poker Flat, Alaska, on 14 January 2002. A wealth of wave modes at frequencies from below 100 kHz to above 2000 kHz were detected with a dipole electric field antenna that was alternately parallel and perpendicular to Earth's magnetic field. At least two types of whistler mode waves were detected: unstructured broadband whistler waves commonly referred to as auroral hiss occurring at frequencies from <100 kHz up to 1000 kHz, and structured narrowband features in the whistler mode at frequencies of 100 kHz to 600 kHz (Samara and LaBelle, 2006a). Other waves detected in the frequency range 1200 to 2000 kHz were interpreted as Langmuir-upper hybrid waves and Z-mode waves. For the unstructured whistler mode waves, comparison of the observed spin dependence of the wave electric fields with Monte Carlo simulations of the expected spin dependence for various polarizations suggests that these waves propagate on or near the resonance cone, which is consistent with previous measurements. Similar analyses of the presumed Langmuir and Z-mode waves show their electric fields are preferentially parallel and perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field, respectively. These characteristics, together with the relation of the wave frequencies to the J. cutoff frequency, serve to confirm the mode identification of these waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA04306
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume113
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

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