A possible mechanism for <theta> aurora formation
Abstract. A mechanism for the formation of <theta> aurora connected with the development of an interchange instability on the plasma sheet boundary layer (PSBL) is suggested. The PSBL is assumed to be deep inside the region of closed magnetic field lines. A system of equations connecting currents in the ionosphere and magnetosphere is solved numerically. It is found, using realistic ionospheric and magnetospheric parameters, that in a period of 8–10 min a system of plasma bars directed to the Sun arises at high latitudes. The system of bars is about 1000 km in width and 3000 km in length and approximates the Θ aurora. The suggested mechanism allows an explanation of a number of Θ aurora features such as the appearance probability, electric field directions, energy spectra of precipitating particles, and its location.