High-altitude observations of the polar wind

T. E. Moore, C. R. Chappell, M. O. Chandler, P. D. Craven, B. L. Giles, C. J. Pollock, J. L. Burch, D. T. Young, Jr Waite, J. E. Nordholt, M. F. Thomsen, D. J. McComas, J. J. Berthelier, W. S. Williamson, R. Robson, F. S. Mozer

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Abstract

Plasma outflows, escaping from Earth through the high-altitude polar caps into the tail of the magnetosphere, have been observed with a xenon plasma source instrument to reduce the floating potential of the POLAR spacecraft. The largest component of H+ flow, along the local magnetic field (30 to 60 kilometers per second), is faster than predicted by theory. The flows contain more O+ than predicted by theories of thermal polar wind but also have elevated ion temperatures. These plasma outflows contribute to the plasmas energized in the elongated nightside tail of the magnetosphere, creating auroras, substorms, and storms. They also constitute an appreciable loss of terrestrial water dissociation products into space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-351
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume277
Issue number5324
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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    Moore, T. E., Chappell, C. R., Chandler, M. O., Craven, P. D., Giles, B. L., Pollock, C. J., Burch, J. L., Young, D. T., Waite, J., Nordholt, J. E., Thomsen, M. F., McComas, D. J., Berthelier, J. J., Williamson, W. S., Robson, R., & Mozer, F. S. (1997). High-altitude observations of the polar wind. Science, 277(5324), 349-351. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.277.5324.349