Mesoscale Structures in Earth's Magnetotail Observed Using Energetic Neutral Atom Imaging.

Academic Article


  • Mesoscale structures in Earth's magnetotail are a primary feature of particle transport to the inner magnetosphere during storms and substorms. We demonstrate that such structures can be observed in energetic neutral atom (ENA) data which can provide remote, global images of the magnetosphere. In particular, we present localized regions of increased ion temperatures that appear in equatorial ion temperature maps calculated from Two Wide-angle Imaging Neutral-atom Spectrometers (TWINS) ENA data. These regions are associated with a dipolarization front with bursty ion flows measured by Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) and are concurrent with substorm features observed in field aligned currents (FAC) from Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment measurements. We conduct a magnetohydrodynamics simulation of the same event and show simulated ion temperatures, ion flows, and FACs that agree with the measurements. However, the observed plasma heating is less intense in the simulated results than in the TWINS and MMS data, indicating that some heating processes may be missing from the model.
  • Authors

  • Keesee, Amy
  • Buzulukova, N
  • Mouikis, Christoforos
  • Scime, EE
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 16, 2021
  • Published In


  • dipolarization front
  • energetic neutral atom imaging
  • geomagnetic storms
  • global MHD modeling
  • substorms
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • e2020GL091467
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 3