Relativistic electron acceleration and precipitation during resonant interactions with whistler-mode chorus

Resonant interactions with whistler-mode chorus waves provide an important process for electron loss and acceleration during storm times. We demonstrate that wave propagation significantly affects the electron scattering rates. We show that stormtime chorus waves outside the plasmapause can scatter equatorial electrons ≤60 keV into the loss cone and accelerate trapped electrons up to ∼ MeV energies at large pitch-angles. Using ray tracing to map the waves to higher latitudes, we show that the decrease in the ratio between the electron plasma and gyro frequencies, along with the normalized chorus frequency bandwidth, enable much higher energy electrons ∼1 MeV to be scattered into the loss cone. We suggest that off equatorial pitch-angle scattering by chorus waves is responsible for relativistic micro-burst precipitation seen on SAMPEX. Off-equatorial scattering at pitch-angles well away from the loss cone also contributes to the acceleration of higher energy ≥3 MeV electrons.


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Authors: Horne, R.B. ORCIDORCID record for R.B. Horne, Thorne, R.M.

On this site: Richard Horne
1 May, 2003
Geophysical Research Letters / 30
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