Identification of natural plasma emissions observed close to the plasmapause by the Cluster-Whisper relaxation sounder
Abstract. We use the data collected by the Whisper instrument onboard the Cluster spacecraft for a first test of its capabilities in the identification of the natural plasma waves observed in the Earth’s magnetosphere. The main signatures observed at the plasma frequency, upper hybrid frequency, and electron Bernstein modes were often difficult to be reliably recognized on previous missions. We use here the characteristic frequencies provided by the resonances triggered by the relaxation sounder of Whisper to identify with good confidence the various signatures detected in the complex wave spectra collected close to the plasmapause. Coupled with the good sensitivity, frequency and time resolution of Whisper, the resonances detected by the sounder allow one to precisely spot these natural emissions. This first analysis seems to confirm the interpretation of Geos observations: the natural emissions observed in Bernstein modes above the plasma frequency, now widely observed onboard Cluster, are not modeled by a single Maxwellian electrons distribution function. Therefore, multi-temperature electron distribution functions should be considered.
Key words. Space plasma physics (active perturbation experiments; waves and instabilities; instrument and techniques)