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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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  27 Nov 2020

27 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Thermal electron anisotropy driven by kinetic Alfven waves in the Earth's magnetotail

Alexander Lukin1,2,, Anton Artemyev3,1, Evgeny Panov4, Rumi Nakamura4, Anatoly Petrukovich1, Robert Ergun5, Barbara Giles6, Yuri Khotyaintsev7, Per Arne Lindqvist8, Christopher Russell3, and Robert Strangeway3 Alexander Lukin et al.
  • 1Space Research Institute, RAS, Moscow, Russia
  • 2Faculty of Physics, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
  • 3Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 4Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • 5Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 6NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 7Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 8Division of space and plasma physics, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Invited contribution by Alexander Lukin, recipient of the EGU Solar-Terrestrial Sciences Outstanding Student Poster and PICO Award 2019.

Abstract. Thermal and subthermal electron populations in the Earth's magnetotail are usually characterized by pronounced field-aligned anisotropy that contributes to generation of strong electric currents within the magnetotail current sheet. Formation of this anisotropy requires electron field-aligned acceleration, and thus likely involves field-aligned electric fields. Such fields can be carried by various electromagnetic waves generated by fast plasma flows interacting with ambient magnetotail plasma. In this paper we consider one of the most intense observed wave emissions, kinetic Alfven waves, that often accompany fast plasma flows in the magnetotail. Using two tail seasons (2017, 2018) of MMS observations we have collected statistics of 80 fast plasma flows (or bursty bulk flows) events with distinctive enhancement of intensity of broadband electromagnetic waves (kinetic Alfven waves). We show correlation the intensity of electric fields of kinetic Alfven waves and characteristics of electron anisotropy distributions: the parallel electron anisotropy increases with magnitude of the wave parallel electric field. Also the energy range of this electron anisotropic population is well within the expected acceleration range for assumed kinetic Alfven waves. Our results indicate an important role of KAWs in production of thermal field-aligned electron population typically observed in the Earth's magnetotail.

Alexander Lukin et al.

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Alexander Lukin et al.

Alexander Lukin et al.


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