Articles | Volume 17, issue 5
Special issue:
31 May 1999
31 May 1999

Characteristics of > 290 keV magnetosheath ions

I. Karanikola, G. C. Anagnostopoulos, and A. Rigas

Abstract. We performed a statistical analysis of 290-500 keV ion data obtained by IMP-8 during the years 1982-1988 within the earth's magnetosheath and analysed in detail some time periods withdistinct ion bursts. These studies reveal the following characteristics for magnetosheath 290-500 keV energetic ions: (a) the occurrence frequency and the flux of ions increase with increasing geomagnetic activity as indicated by the Kp index; the occurrence frequency was found to be as high as P > 42% for Kp > 2, (b) the occurrence frequency in the dusk magnetosheath was found to be slightly dependent on the local time and ranged between ~30% and ~46% for all Kp values; the highest occurrence frequency was detected near the dusk magnetopause (21 LT), (c) the high energy ion bursts display a dawn-dusk asymmetry in their maximum fluxes, with higher fluxes appearing in the dusk magnetosheath, and (d) the observations in the dusk magnetosheath suggest that there exist intensity gradients of energetic ions from the bow shock toward the magnetopause. The statistical results are consistent with the concept that leakage of magnetospheric ions from the dusk magnetopause is a semi-permanent physical process often providing the magnetosheath with high energy (290-500 keV) ions.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetosheath; planetary magnetospheres). Space plasma physics (shock waves).

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