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Title: Solving the auroral-arc-generator question by using an electron beam to unambiguously connect critical magnetospheric measurements to auroral images

Abstract

Here, an active mapping mission is described that unambiguously connects measurements in the Earth's magnetosphere to visible aurora in the atmosphere. The core of the mission is an electron-beam source operated on a spacecraft in the equatorial magnetosphere, with the electron beam traveling along the Earth's magnetic-field lines to the atmosphere, depositing its energy to create an optical beam-spot in the atmosphere at the footpoint of the spacecraft's magnetic-field line. This optical spot can be imaged by ground-based cameras, putting the location of the spacecraft's magnetic footpoint into the context of the optical aurora. Scientific instruments carried on the spacecraft make critical measurements of the properties of the magnetosphere at the locations where the magnetosphere powers the aurora, allowing the determination of the plasma-physics mechanisms by which the magnetosphere drives the aurora, in particular answering the outstanding question of how the magnetosphere drives low-latitude auroral arcs. Long-standing questions in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling that have not been answered because we could not unambiguously connect locations in the magnetosphere with their image in the ionosphere will finally be addressed. In this paper the properties of a “standard” growth-phase auroral arc are collected, theories of the magnetospheric generation of auroral arcs are reviewed, andmore » critical magnetospheric measurements to discern the mechanisms that drive auroral arcs are determined. Further, the plasma physics of the experiment is investigated, including spacecraft-charging mitigation, beam stability, beam scattering, and electron orbit theory. Tradeoffs (keV versus MeV) concerning the energy of the electron beam are enumerated.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [2];  [5];  [6]; ORCiD logo [6];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [7]
  1. Space Science Inst., Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Planetary Science Inst., Tucson, AZ (United States)
  4. SRI International, Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  5. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  6. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  7. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1646790
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-76SF00515; NNX14AN90G; NNX17AB71G; AGS-1502947; AGS-1723416
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 206; Journal ID: ISSN 1364-6826
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; aurora; auroral arcs; magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling; plasma physics; active experiments; electron beams

Citation Formats

Borovsky, Joseph E., Delzanno, Gian Luca, Dors, Eric E., Thomsen, Michelle F., Sanchez, Ennio R., Henderson, Michael G., Marshall, Robert A., Gilchrist, Brian E., Miars, Grant, Carlsten, Bruce E., Storms, Steven A., Holloway, Michael A., and Nguyen, Dinh. Solving the auroral-arc-generator question by using an electron beam to unambiguously connect critical magnetospheric measurements to auroral images. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105310.
Borovsky, Joseph E., Delzanno, Gian Luca, Dors, Eric E., Thomsen, Michelle F., Sanchez, Ennio R., Henderson, Michael G., Marshall, Robert A., Gilchrist, Brian E., Miars, Grant, Carlsten, Bruce E., Storms, Steven A., Holloway, Michael A., & Nguyen, Dinh. Solving the auroral-arc-generator question by using an electron beam to unambiguously connect critical magnetospheric measurements to auroral images. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105310
Borovsky, Joseph E., Delzanno, Gian Luca, Dors, Eric E., Thomsen, Michelle F., Sanchez, Ennio R., Henderson, Michael G., Marshall, Robert A., Gilchrist, Brian E., Miars, Grant, Carlsten, Bruce E., Storms, Steven A., Holloway, Michael A., and Nguyen, Dinh. 2020. "Solving the auroral-arc-generator question by using an electron beam to unambiguously connect critical magnetospheric measurements to auroral images". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105310. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1646790.
@article{osti_1646790,
title = {Solving the auroral-arc-generator question by using an electron beam to unambiguously connect critical magnetospheric measurements to auroral images},
author = {Borovsky, Joseph E. and Delzanno, Gian Luca and Dors, Eric E. and Thomsen, Michelle F. and Sanchez, Ennio R. and Henderson, Michael G. and Marshall, Robert A. and Gilchrist, Brian E. and Miars, Grant and Carlsten, Bruce E. and Storms, Steven A. and Holloway, Michael A. and Nguyen, Dinh},
abstractNote = {Here, an active mapping mission is described that unambiguously connects measurements in the Earth's magnetosphere to visible aurora in the atmosphere. The core of the mission is an electron-beam source operated on a spacecraft in the equatorial magnetosphere, with the electron beam traveling along the Earth's magnetic-field lines to the atmosphere, depositing its energy to create an optical beam-spot in the atmosphere at the footpoint of the spacecraft's magnetic-field line. This optical spot can be imaged by ground-based cameras, putting the location of the spacecraft's magnetic footpoint into the context of the optical aurora. Scientific instruments carried on the spacecraft make critical measurements of the properties of the magnetosphere at the locations where the magnetosphere powers the aurora, allowing the determination of the plasma-physics mechanisms by which the magnetosphere drives the aurora, in particular answering the outstanding question of how the magnetosphere drives low-latitude auroral arcs. Long-standing questions in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling that have not been answered because we could not unambiguously connect locations in the magnetosphere with their image in the ionosphere will finally be addressed. In this paper the properties of a “standard” growth-phase auroral arc are collected, theories of the magnetospheric generation of auroral arcs are reviewed, and critical magnetospheric measurements to discern the mechanisms that drive auroral arcs are determined. Further, the plasma physics of the experiment is investigated, including spacecraft-charging mitigation, beam stability, beam scattering, and electron orbit theory. Tradeoffs (keV versus MeV) concerning the energy of the electron beam are enumerated.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105310},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1646790}, journal = {Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics},
issn = {1364-6826},
number = ,
volume = 206,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {5}
}

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