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On the origin of the energetic ion events measured upstream of the Earth's bow shock by STEREO, Cluster, and Geotail

On the origin of the energetic ion events measured upstream of the Earth's bow shock by STEREO, Cluster, and Geotail

Publication date: 11 February 2011

Authors: Kronberg, E.A., et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 116
Page: A02210
Year: 2011

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

In 2007 during the declining phase of the solar cycle the energetic upstream ion events occurred mainly after a corotating interaction region passed the Earth's magnetosphere. We study the relation between these upstream events observed from about 70 to 1750 RE away from the Earth and observations in the vicinity of the terrestrial bow shock (up to 30 RE). For this purpose, simultaneous measurements of energetic ions from STEREO A and STEREO B (far upstream region) and from Cluster and Geotail (near the bow shock) are used. In all cases the energetic ions far upstream are associated with the upstream ion events near the bow shock. The upstream events are observed simultaneously mainly when the magnetic field is pointing along the line joining those satellites in the far upstream region with those near the terrestrial bow shock. The upstream events near the bow shock often coincide with sunward directed electron bursts, increased AE index (>200 nT), nonexponential proton spectra, and most important the presence of O+ ions, all of which imply at least partly a magnetospheric origin. In ~57% of cases the upstream ion events near the bow shock are associated with electron bursts and/or with the presence of O+, and ~40% of the latter events are associated with electron bursts at STEREO A. Although we present strong evidence that the events are partially of magnetospheric origin, we do not exclude the presence of the ions accelerated at the bow shock.

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