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Midnight sector observations of auroral omega bands

Wild, J.A. and Woodfield, E.E. and Donovan, E. and Fear, R.C. and Grocott, A. and Lester, M. and Fazakerley, A.N. and Lucek, E. and Khotyaintsev, Y. and Andre, M. and Kadokura, A. and Hosokawa, K. and Carlson, C. and McFadden, J.P. and Glassmeier, K.H. and Angelopoulos, V. and Björnsson, G. (2011) Midnight sector observations of auroral omega bands. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116 (A00I30). ISSN 0148-0227

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    Abstract

    We present observations of auroral omega bands on 28 September 2009. Although generally associated with the substorm recovery phase and typically observed in the morning sector, the features presented here occurred just after expansion phase onset and were observed in the midnight sector, dawnward of the onset region. An all‐sky imager located in northeastern Iceland revealed that the omega bands were ∼150 × 200 km in size and propagated eastward at ∼0.4 km s−1 while a colocated ground magnetometer recorded the simultaneous occurrence of Ps6 pulsations. Although somewhat smaller and slower moving than the majority of previously reported omega bands, the observed structures are clear examples of this phenomenon, albeit in an atypical location and unusually early in the substorm cycle. The THEMIS C probe provided detailed measurements of the upstream interplanetary environment, while the Cluster satellites were located in the tail plasma sheet conjugate to the ground‐based all‐sky imager. The Cluster satellites observed bursts of 0.1–3 keV electrons moving parallel to the magnetic field toward the Northern Hemisphere auroral ionosphere; these bursts were associated with increased levels of field‐aligned Poynting flux. The in situ measurements are consistent with electron acceleration via shear Alfvén waves in the plasma sheet ∼8 RE tailward of the Earth. Although a one‐to‐one association between auroral and magnetospheric features was not found, our observations suggest that Alfvén waves in the plasma sheet are responsible for field‐aligned currents that cause Ps6 pulsations and auroral brightening in the ionosphere. Our findings agree with the conclusions of earlier studies that auroral omega bands have a source mechanism in the midtail plasma sheet.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research
    Additional Information: Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.
    Uncontrolled Keywords: omega bands ; substorm ; cluster ; aurora
    Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
    Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > School of Computing & Communications
    Faculty of Science and Technology > Physics
    ID Code: 39968
    Deposited By: Dr Steve Marple
    Deposited On: 21 Mar 2011 16:49
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 23 Apr 2014 17:11
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/39968

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