Study of nonthermal continuum patches: Wave propagation and plasmapause study
Boardsen, Scott A.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Nonthermal continuum (NTC) radiation is believed to be emitted at the plasmapause and near the magnetic equator. We present a particular type of NTC radiation, referred to as NTC patch, which appears over a wide frequency range and within a relatively short time interval. NTC patches are observed in all magnetospheric plasma environments of the Cluster 2 orbit and are shown to represent a quarter of the NTC events observed in 2003. A statistical analysis of the frequency pattern performed on the 2003 Cluster 2 Waves of High frequency and Sounder for Probing of Electron Density by Relaxation data indicates that the NTC patches can be divided into two classes: Those with banded emission in frequency are only observed close to the source region and are thus termed “plasmaspheric,” while the others, nonbanded, are termed “outer magnetospheric.” In an event on 26 September 2003, we localize the sources positions and study the expected propagation of each NTC frequency beam of a plasmaspheric patch. From the observations, we show that the sources are located very close to the satellite and to each other at positions projected on the XY GSE plane. Using a ray tracing code, we demonstrate that, close to the source regions, the satellite observes all frequency rays at the same time which overlap in the spectrogram making up the plasmaspheric patch. After the satellite crossing, the rays follow diverging paths and cannot therefore be observed further out by the same satellite simultaneously. Plasmaspheric patches are thus specific signatures of close and distorted source regions.
Copyright © 2011 American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Vol. 116 (A7), article A07219