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Study of the plasmasphere and the plasmapause

Research project MO/35/018 (Research action MO)

Persons :

  • Dr.  HEYNDERICKX Daniel - Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2005-31/12/2006

Description :

The project involves studying the plasmasphere and the formation of the plasmapause by developing the new model established at IASB during the two first years of this pluri-annual project. This model is based on the movements engendered by the exchange and quasi-interchange instability of the plasma and is capable of producing animations illustrating the positions of the plasmapause in relation to the variation in geomagnetic activity and the local time sector.

In this project, theoretical predictions of the numerical simulations will be compared with new experimental measurements from the CRRES, AURORAL/PROBE, IMAGE and CLUSTER satellites, in order to verify the plasmapause formation mechanisms. Exceptional experimental results have in fact recently been obtained from the CLUSTER mission and the IMAGE satellite showing for the first time the overall structure of the plasmasphere in flat projection. Collaborative programmes have been developed with the "Principal Investigators" of various experiments forming part of these missions with a view to comparing these observations with the model data. Based on these measurements, and on those obtained from CRRES and AURORAL/PROBE, it will be possible to determine the convection velocity of the plasmasphere in different local time sectors, the mean position of the plasmapause as a function of Kp and the presence of a possible radial wind, thereby improving the quality of the model predictions.

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