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Multipoint observations of ions in the 30-160 keV energy range upstream of the Earth's bow shock

Multipoint observations of ions in the 30-160 keV energy range upstream of the Earth's bow shock

Publication date: 24 March 2009

Authors: Kronberg, E.A. et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 114
Issue: A03
ID: A03211
Year: 2009

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

We use multipoint observation data by Cluster during time periods when the interspacecraft separation distance was between 1 and 1.5 Earth radii in order to study the physical processes related to diffuse ions at <200 keV/e. For our analysis we use data from the Research with Adaptive Particle Imaging Detectors (RAPID) experiment onboard Cluster SC1 and SC3. We determine spatial ion density gradients by using proton intensities in the 27.7-159.7 keV energy range and helium intensities in the 137.8-235.1 keV energy range as a function of distance from the bow shock along the magnetic field. Our results show that the diffuse ions are subject to diffusive transport and the ion partial densities decrease exponentially with increasing distance from the bow shock. By complementing RAPID data with Cluster Ion Spectrometry measurements at lower energies (from 10 to 32 keV) from the same upstream ion event we find that the e-folding distance of energetic ion density increases almost linearly with energy. This effect is also seen in the hardening of the particle spectra with increasing distance from the bow shock. We determine the spatial diffusion mean free path and the diffusion coefficient as a function of ion energy by assuming that upstream diffusion is balanced by downstream convection.

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