We present a comparative study of ring current dynamics during strong and moderate storms. The ring current during the strong storm is studied with IMAGE/HENA data near the solar cycle maximum in 2000. The ring current during the moderate storm is studied using energetic neutral atom (ENA) data from the Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers (TWINS) mission during the solar minimum in 2008. For both storms, the local time distributions of ENA emissions show signatures of postmidnight enhancement (PME) during the main phases. To model the ring current and ENA emissions, we use the Comprehensive Ring Current Model (CRCM). CRCM results show that the main-phase ring current pressure peaks in the premidnight-dusk sector, while the most intense CRCM-simulated ENA emissions show PME signatures. We analyze two factors to explain this difference: the dependence of charge-exchange cross section on energy and pitch angle distributions of ring current. We find that the IMF By effect (twisting of the convection pattern due to By) is not needed to form the PME. Additionally, the PME is more pronounced for the strong storm, although relative shielding and hence electric field skewing is well developed for both events.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science