Observation of continuum radiations from the Cluster fleet: first results from direction finding
- 1LPCE, CNRS et Université d’Orléans, Orléans, France
- 2CETP, CNRS et Université Versailles St Quentin, Vélizy, France
- 3Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, (IASB-BIRA), Brussels, Belgium
- 4Space Science Centre, the University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, UK
- *March-June 2003 visit at LPCE
Abstract. The Cluster fleet offers the first possibility of comparing non-thermal terrestrial continuum radiation from similarly equipped nearby observation points. A very rich data set has already been acquired on the Cluster polar orbit, between 4 and 19 Earth radii geocentric distances, and preliminary analysis has been carried out on these emissions. We focus in this paper on direction finding performed from all four spacecraft as a means to locate the position of the sources of this continuum radiation. Directions are derived from spin modulation properties, under the usual analysis assumptions of the wave vector of the radiation lying in the plane containing the spin axis and the antenna position at electric field minimum. All the spin axes of the four Cluster spacecraft are aligned perpendicular to the ecliptic, thus the aligned spacecraft antenna spin planes provide redundant 2-D views of the propagation path of the radiation and source location. Convincing 2-D triangulation results have been obtained in the vicinity of the source region. In addition, the out of spin plane component of the wave vector reveals itself to a certain extent through directivity characteristics compared at different distances of the spin plane to the ecliptic. The four case events studied (two of them taken near apogee, the other two near perigee) have confirmed general properties derived from previous observations: trapping in the lower frequency range, radiation escaping into the magnetosheath region in the higher frequency range. All propagation directions are compatible with source positions in the plasmapause region, however, at a significant distance from the equator in one case. Our observations have also revealed new properties, like the importance of small-scale density irregularities in the local amplification of continuum radiation. We conclude that more detailed generation and propagation models are needed to fit the observations.