Articles | Volume 27, issue 11
26 Nov 2009
 | 26 Nov 2009

The Earth's magnetopause as a source and sink for equatorial nightside energetic charged particles

M. M. Klida and T. A. Fritz

Abstract. The Imaging Proton Spectrometer (IPS) and the Imaging Electron Spectrometer (IES) on the Polar satellite have measured temporary deviations in the isotropy of the pitch angle distributions (PADs) of charged particles in the inner magnetosphere. As Polar passes through the nightside equatorial region, the IPS and IES observe dropouts of charged particles with pitch angles near 90°, known as butterfly distributions caused by the shadowing of the magnetopause. Additionally, Polar observes a lower energy (<60 keV) intensification of locally mirroring ions while simultaneously detecting butterfly PADs in both higher energy ions and electrons. While it is accepted that charged particles can be lost to the magnetopause due to shadowing effects, the modeling here can suggest that the magnetopause can also be a direct source for particles observed in magnetosphere, with a strong dependence upon both pitch angle and particle energy.