Multi-Event Study of Simultaneous Observations of Isolated Proton Auroras at Subauroral Latitudes Using Ground All-Sky Imagers and the Van Allen Probes

Kohki Nakamura, Kazuo Shiokawa, Masahito Nosé, Tsutomu Nagatsuma, Kaori Sakaguchi, Harlan Spence, Geoff Reeves, Herbert O. Funsten, Robert MacDowall, Charles Smith, John Wygant, John Bonnell, Ian R. Mann

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Isolated proton auroras (IPAs) appearing at subauroral latitudes are generated by energetic protons precipitating from the magnetosphere through interaction with electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves. Thus, an IPA is the ionospheric projection of the spatial and temporal variation of wave-particle interaction regions in the magnetosphere. In this study, we conducted unique multi-event analysis of simultaneous observations of IPAs and their source regions on 22 April, 7 September, and 22 March 2018, using all-sky imagers at subauroral latitudes and the Van Allen Probes. When the satellite footprint passed over the IPAs associated with ground Pc1 geomagnetic pulsations, locally generated He+-band EMIC waves with the same frequencies as the ground Pc1 pulsations were observed in all events. The IPAs and EMIC waves had comparable narrow widths in the latitudinal direction. The EMIC waves appeared during the rapid enhancement of the ring current proton flux at energy range of ∼10–50 keV, while they disappeared at the rapid decrease of the electron density. From these results, we conclude that the boundaries of the localized IPAs and EMIC waves were determined by the overlap region of energetic proton enhancement and the plasmasphere. This overlap of ring-current protons and plasmasphere is a favorable condition for the pitch-angle scattering of protons by the EMIC waves. Characteristic magnetic and electric field variations with the IPAs were not observed by the satellite, indicating that the IPAs were not accompanied by field-aligned currents comparable to that of oval auroral arcs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JA030455
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

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  • Pc1 pulsation
  • electromagnetic ion cyclotron wave
  • isolated proton aurora
  • plasmasphere
  • ring current
  • wave-particle interaction


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