Articles | Volume 32, issue 10
Regular paper
13 Oct 2014
Regular paper |  | 13 Oct 2014

Formation of the high-energy ion population in the earth's magnetotail: spacecraft observations and theoretical models

A. V. Artemyev, I. Y. Vasko, V. N. Lutsenko, and A. A. Petrukovich

Abstract. We investigate the formation of the high-energy (E ∈ [20,600] keV) ion population in the earth's magnetotail. We collect statistics of 4 years of Interball / Tail observations (1995–1998) in the vicinity of the neutral plane in the magnetotail region (X <-17 RE, |Y| ≤ 20 RE in geocentric solar magnetospheric (GSM) system). We study the dependence of high-energy ion spectra on the thermal-plasma parameters (the temperature Ti and the amplitude of bulk velocity vi) and on the magnetic-field component Bz. The ion population in the energy range E ∈ [20,600] keV can be separated in the thermal core and the power-law tail with the slope (index) ~ −4.5. Fluxes of the high-energy ion population increase with the growth of Bz, vi and especially Ti, but spectrum index seems to be independent on these parameters. We have suggested that the high-energy ion population is generated by small scale transient processes, rather than by the global reconfiguration of the magnetotail. We have proposed the relatively simple and general model of ion acceleration by transient bursts of the electric field. This model describes the power-law energy spectra and predicts typical energies of accelerated ions.