Temperature Dependence of Plasmaspheric Ion Composition

J. Goldstein, D. Gallagher, P. D. Craven, R. H. Comfort, K. J. Genestreti, C. Mouikis, H. Spence, W. Kurth, J. Wygant, R. M. Skoug, B. A. Larsen, G. D. Reeves, S. De Pascuale

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We analyze a database of Dynamics Explorer-1 (DE-1) Retarding Ion Mass Spectrometer densities and temperatures to yield the first explicit measure of how cold ion concentration depends on temperature. We find that cold H+ and He+ concentrations have very weak dependence on temperature, but cold O+ ion concentration increases steeply as these ions become warmer. We demonstrate how this result can aid in analyzing composition data from other satellites without spacecraft potential mitigation, by applying the result to an example using data from the Van Allen Probes mission. Measurement of light ion concentrations above 1 electron volt (eV) are a reasonable proxy for the concentrations of colder (eV) ions. Warmer O+ ion concentrations may be extrapolated to colder temperatures using our fit to the statistical distribution versus temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6585-6595
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • composition
  • ion
  • plasmasphere
  • temperature

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    Goldstein, J., Gallagher, D., Craven, P. D., Comfort, R. H., Genestreti, K. J., Mouikis, C., Spence, H., Kurth, W., Wygant, J., Skoug, R. M., Larsen, B. A., D. Reeves, G., & De Pascuale, S. (2019). Temperature Dependence of Plasmaspheric Ion Composition. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124(8), 6585-6595. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JA026822