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Plasma sheet fine structure at high latitude

Plasma sheet fine structure at high latitude

Publication date: 22 September 2007

Authors: Lennartsson, O.W. et al.

Journal: Geophys. Res. Lett.
Volume: 34
Issue: L18
Page: L18103
Year: 2007

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

High-resolution ion observations made in recent years, by the TIMAS instrument on the Polar satellite and other instruments, reveal a dynamic and finely structured plasma sheet, at least at high latitude. This study invokes multipoint Cluster observations with the CIS CODIF instruments (ion composition and distribution function) to determine whether transverse density gradients can be of the order of keV proton gyroradii scale size, as suggested by the TIMAS observations. It is shown that the plasma sheet is indeed prominently filamentary and that the proton density with 40 eV <= E <= 40 keV can vary by Delta n = 0.4 cm-3 across less than five average proton gyroradii at R ~ 5 RE (average E ~ 7.5 keV at the time). This compares favorably with typical 10-km-size (or less) auroral structures when projected earthward.

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