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Photoelectron Flux Build-Up in the Plasmasphere
Journal of Geophysical Research
  • G P Mantas
  • H C Carlson
  • Vincent B Wickwar, Utah State University
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Publication Date
Processes which confine photoelectrons to the plasmasphere (e.g., collisional backscattering from the thermosphere and magnetic trapping due to pitch angle redistribution through Coulomb collisions in the plasmasphere) tend to increase the steady state photoelectron flux in the plasmasphere above the amplitude level that would otherwise have been attained. Theoretical calculations are presented of steady state photoelectron fluxes in the plasmasphere, for specified atmospheric and ionospheric conditions. (Observational plasma line intensity data for these conditions exist and will be compared elsewhere.) General features of the angular distribution are presented and compared with observations. The transparency of the plasmasphere and the backscattering properties of the thermosphere are investigated. The buildup effect due to collisional backscatter alone is calculated, and the combined buildup effect of pitch angle diffusion and backscatter is estimated. It is found that the inclusion of these effects increases the steady state photoelectron flux amplitude in the plasmasphere by about 50% over the value obtained when the buildup effects are neglected. The calculated steady state photoelectron fluxes in the plasmasphere are in good agreement with the available observations.

Published by American Geophysical Union in Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics. Publisher PDF available for download through link above.

Citation Information
Mantas, G. P., H. C. Carlson, and V. B. Wickwar (1978), Photoelectron Flux Buildup in the Plasmasphere, J. Geophys. Res., 83(A1), 1–15, doi:10.1029/JA083iA01p00001.