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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 7
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1443–1455, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1443-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1443–1455, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1443-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Jul 2003

31 Jul 2003

Conjugate high-intensity energetic electron precipitation at high latitude

T. Christensen2,1, N. Østgaard3, T. J. Rosenberg4, D. L. Detrick4, G. A. Germany5, and P. Stauning1 T. Christensen et al.
  • 1Solar-Terrestrial Physics Division, Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University, Juliane Maries Vej 30, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • 4Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2431, USA
  • 5Center for Space Plasma, Aeronomy, and Astrophysics Research, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA

Abstract. On 6 August 1998 an intense precipitation event occurring at high latitude in the evening sector was observed by X-ray and far-ultraviolet imagers on board the Polar satellite and by several ground-based instruments. The precipitation region was centred at approximately 19:00 MLT at 74° MLAT (at an L-shell of about 13). The event started at 22:59 UT and lasted about 10 minutes. It happened during the late expansion phase of a substorm after two hours of strongly southward IMF. Imaging riometers at geomagnetically conjugate sites recorded strong absorption levels which exceeded 7 dB at 38 MHz in a transient and localized intensification occurring within a poleward moving arc-like feature. The temporal and spatial similarities between the recordings from the two conjugate regions are remarkable. The arc-like precipitation region progressed poleward with a velocity of 1.5 km/s. Ground magnetometers co-located with the imaging riometers observed disturbances consistent with poleward moving westward currents. In X-ray and riometer images which are sensitive only to energetic electrons (above 5–10 keV) the event seems isolated, but in UV images the event is seen to occur on the poleward edge of the rapidly poleward expanding evening side aurora. The energy spectrum of precipitating electrons was subject to a temporary hardening which peaked at a mean energy of about 20 keV when the event was at its most intense at 23:02 UT. The event is likely to have been caused by an accelerating mechanism at some height above the ionosphere or by an earthward flow burst in the magnetotail, or possibly both.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (energetic particles, precipitating; storms and substorms; magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions)

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