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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 29, issue 10
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1755–1763, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-29-1755-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1755–1763, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-29-1755-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

ANGEO Communicates 07 Oct 2011

ANGEO Communicates | 07 Oct 2011

Density and temperature of energetic electrons in the Earth's magnetotail derived from high-latitude GPS observations during the declining phase of the solar cycle

M. H. Denton1 and T. E. Cayton2 M. H. Denton and T. E. Cayton
  • 1Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YB, UK
  • 2ISR-1, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

Abstract. Single relativistic-Maxwellian fits are made to high-latitude GPS-satellite observations of energetic electrons for the period January 2006–November 2010; a constellation of 12 GPS space vehicles provides the observations. The derived fit parameters (for energies ~0.1–1.0 MeV), in combination with field-line mapping on the nightside of the magnetosphere, provide a survey of the energetic electron density and temperature distribution in the magnetotail between McIlwain L-values of L=6 and L=22. Analysis reveals the characteristics of the density-temperature distribution of energetic electrons and its variation as a function of solar wind speed and the Kp index. The density-temperature characteristics of the magnetotail energetic electrons are very similar to those found in the outer electron radiation belt as measured at geosynchronous orbit. The energetic electron density in the magnetotail is much greater during increased geomagnetic activity and during fast solar wind. The total electron density in the magnetotail is found to be strongly correlated with solar wind speed and is at least a factor of two greater for high-speed solar wind (VSW=500–1000 km s−1) compared to low-speed solar wind (VSW=100–400 km s−1). These results have important implications for understanding (a) how the solar wind may modulate entry into the magnetosphere during fast and slow solar wind, and (b) if the magnetotail is a source or a sink for the outer electron radiation belt.

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