Satellite measurements and theories of low altitude auroral particle acceleration

F. S. Mozer, C. A. Cattell, M. K. Hudson, R. L. Lysak, M. Temerin, R. B. Torbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


Several previous and new S3-3 satellite results on DC electric fields, field-aligned currents, and waves are described, interpreted theoretically, and applied to the understanding of auroral particle acceleration at altitudes below 8000 km. These results include the existence of two spatial scale sizes (less than 0.1 degree and a few degrees invariant latitude) in both the perpendicular and parallel electric fields; the predominance of S-shaped rather than V-shaped equipotential contours on both spatial saales; the correlated presence of field-aligned currents, low frequency wave turbulence, coherent ion cyclotron wave emissions and accelerated upmoving ions and downgoing electrons; intense waves inside electrostatic shocks and important wave-particle interactions therein; correlations of field-aligned currents with magnetospheric boundaries that are determined by convection electric field measurements; electron acceleration producing discrete auroral arcs in the smaller scale fields and producing inverted-V events in the larger scale fields; ion and electron acceleration due to both wave-particle interactions and the parallel electric fields. Further analyses of acceleration mechanisms and energetics are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-213
Number of pages59
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 1980


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