Spatial structures in solar wind superthermal electrons and polar rain aurora

We report a special polar rain aurora case around 11:24 UT on October 27, 2003, where intense polar rain electrons produced observable polar rain auroral emission with the shape of a roughly dawn-dusk aligned bar. Associated solar wind speed and density observations during the event were around 450 km/s and 2.5 cm−3 respectively. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) components Bx, By, and Bz were \textasciitilde5, −3, and 5 nT respectively. The negative By condition likely caused the dawnside shift and slight tilt of the polar rain aurora bar. Furthermore, although Kelvin-Helmholtz waves on the high latitude magnetopause have been previously reported to induce dawn-dusk aligned auroral bars (Zhang et al., 2007), the solar wind and IMF conditions of the event are not favorable for generating them (Zhang et al., 2013) and are therefore not a likely cause. Instead, coincident observations by the Geotail satellite show enhanced anti-sunward flux in the solar wind superthermal electrons (7 eV–42 keV) around the time of the auroral bar. The solar wind superthermal electron spatial size, when mapped into the polar ionosphere, is consistent with the width of the auroral bar, confirming a connection between the two.
Year of Publication
Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Number of Pages
Date Published
ISSN Number
Download citation