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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 13, 595–607, 1995
© European Geosciences Union 1995
Ann. Geophys., 13, 595–607, 1995
© European Geosciences Union 1995

  30 Jun 1995

30 Jun 1995

Origin of energetic ions in the polar cusp inferred from ion composition measurements by the Viking satellite

G. Kremser, J. Woch, K. Mursula, P. Tanskanen, B. Wilken, and R. Lundin G. Kremser et al.

Abstract. The magnetospheric ion composition spectrometer MICS on the Swedish Viking satellite provided measurements of the ion composition in the energy range 10.1 keV/e\leqE/Q\leq326.0 keV/e. Data obtained during orbit 842 were used to investigate the ion distribution in the northern polar cusp and its vicinity. The satellite traversed the outer ring current, boundary region, cusp proper and plasma mantle during its poleward movement. H+ and He++ ions were encountered in all of these regions. He+ ions were present only in the ring current. The number of O+ and O++ ions was very small. Heavy high-charge state ions typical for the solar wind were observed for the first time, most of them in the poleward part of the boundary region and in the cusp proper. The H+ ions exhibited two periods with high intensities. One of them, called the BR/CP event, appeared at energies up to 50 keV. It started at the equatorward limit of the boundary region and continued into the cusp proper. Energy spectra indicate a ring current origin for the BR/CP event. Pitch angle distributions show downward streaming of H+ ions at its equatorward limit and upward streaming on the poleward side. This event is interpreted as the result of pitch angle scattering of ring current ions by fluctuations in the magnetopause current layer in combination with poleward convection. The other of the two periods with high H+ ion intensities, called the accelerated ion event, was superimposed on the BR/CP event. It was restricted to energies \leq15 keV and occurred in the poleward part of the boundary region. This event is regarded as the high-energy tail of magnetosheath ions that were accelerated while penetrating into the magnetosphere. The cusp region thus contains ions of magnetospheric as well as of magnetosheath origin. The appearance of the ions depends, in addition to the ion source, on the magnetic field configuration and dynamic processes inside and close to the cusp.

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