Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Ann. Geophys., 15, 387–396, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-0387-5
Ann. Geophys., 15, 387–396, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-0387-5

  30 Apr 1997

30 Apr 1997

Density fluctuations measured by ISEE 1-2 in the Earth's magnetosheath and the resultant scattering of radio waves

C. Lacombe, J.-L. Steinberg, C. C. Harvey, D. Hubert, A. Mangeney, and M. Moncuquet C. Lacombe et al.
  • URA 264 du CNRS, DESPA, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon, France

Abstract. Radio waves undergo angular scattering when they propagate through a plasma with fluctuating density. We show how the angular scattering coefficient can be calculated as a function of the frequency spectrum of the local density fluctuations. In the Earth's magnetosheath, the ISEE 1-2 propagation experiment measured the spectral power of the density fluctuations for periods in the range 300 to 1 s, which produce most of the scattering. The resultant local angular scattering coefficient can then be calculated for the first time with realistic density fluctuation spectra, which are neither Gaussian nor power laws. We present results on the variation of the local angular scattering coefficient during two crossings of the dayside magnetosheath, from the quasi-perpendicular bow shock to the magnetopause. For a radio wave at twice the local electron plasma frequency, the scattering coefficient in the major part of the magnetosheath is b(2fp) ≃ 0.5 – 4 × 10–9 rad2/m. The scattering coefficient is about ten times stronger in a thin sheet (0.1 to1RE) just downstream of the shock ramp, and close to the magnetopause.