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Two distinct energetic electron populations of different origin in the Earth's magnetotail: a Cluster case study

Two distinct energetic electron populations of different origin in the Earth's magnetotail: a Cluster case study

Publication date: 10 August 2006

Authors: Vogiatzis, I.I. et al.

Journal: Annales Geophysicae
Volume: 24
Page: 1931-1948
Year: 2006

Copyright: Copernicus

Energetic electrons (E >= 30 keV) travelling along and perpendicular to the magnetic field lines have been observed in the magnetotail at L~17:00 and 22:00 MLT during the recovery phase of a storm-time substorm on 7 October 2002. Three-dimensional electron distributions of the full unit sphere obtained from the IES/RAPID sensor system demonstrated a rather complicated and random behavior of the energetic electrons. Occasionally these electrons were appearing to travel parallel, perpendicular, or in both directions, relative to the magnetic field direction, forming in this way bi-directional, perpendicular-peaked, and mixed distributions. The electron enhancements occurred while the Cluster spacecraft were on closed field lines in the central plasma sheet approaching the neutral sheet from the northern tail lobe. Magnetic field and energetic particle measurements have been used from geosynchronous and Cluster satellites, in order to describe the general context of the event and then give a possible interpretation regarding the occurrence of the electron anisotropies observed by the IES/RAPID spectrometer on board Cluster. According to geosynchronous measurements an electron dispersionless ejection is very well correlated with a dipolar re-configuration of the magnetic field. The latter fact supports the idea that electrons and, in general, particle ejections at geosynchronous altitude are directly related to electric fields arising from field dipolarization caused by current disruption. Also, having as a main objective the understanding of the way 3-D electron distributions are formed, we have analyzed electron energy spectra along and perpendicular to the magnetic field direction, demonstrating the fact that the electron population consists of two distinct components acting independently and in a random manner relative to each other.

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