September 28, 2016

The permeability of the magnetopause to a multispecies substorm injection of energetic particles

  • Anderson B.
  • Cohen I.
  • Gkioulidou M.
  • Lanzerotti L.
  • Mauk B.
  • Mitchell D.
  • Russell C.
  • Strangeway R.
  • Walsh B.
  • Westlake J.

Leakage of ions from the magnetosphere into the magnetosheath remains an important topic in understanding the plasma physics of Earth's magnetopause and the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere. Here using sophisticated instrumentation from two spacecraft (Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment on the Van Allen Probes and Energetic Ion Spectrometer on the Magnetospheric Multiscale) spaced uniquely near and outside the dayside magnetopause, we are able to determine the escape mechanisms for large gyroradii oxygen ions and much smaller gyroradii hydrogen and helium ions. The oxygen ions are entrained on the magnetosphere boundary, while the hydrogen and helium ions appear to escape along reconnected field lines. These results have important implications for not only Earth's magnetosphere but also other solar system magnetospheres.

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