Wave-Particle Interaction of Alfvén Waves in Jupiter's Magnetosphere: Auroral and Magnetospheric Particle Acceleration

Joachim Saur, Sascha Janser, Anne Schreiner, George Clark, Barry H. Mauk, Peter Kollmann, Robert W. Ebert, Frederic Allegrini, Jamey R. Szalay, Stavros Kotsiaros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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We investigate spatial and temporal scales at which wave-particle interaction of Alfvén waves occurs in Jupiter's magnetosphere. We consider electrons, protons, and oxygen ions and study the regions along magnetic flux tubes where the plasma is the densest, that is, the equatorial plasma sheet, and where the plasma is the most dilute, that is, above the ionosphere, where auroral particle acceleration is expected to occur. We find that within a dipole L-shell of roughly 30, the electron inertial length scale in the auroral region is the dominating scale, suggesting that electron Landau damping of kinetic Alfvén waves can play an important role in converting field energy into auroral particle acceleration. This mechanism is consistent with the broadband bidirectional electron distributions frequently observed by Juno. Due to interchange-driven mass transport in Jupiter's magnetosphere, its magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling is expected to be mostly not in local force balance. This might be a key reason for the dominant role of Alfvénically driven stochastic acceleration compared to the less frequently occurring, locally forced-balanced, and thus static mono-energetic unidirectional acceleration. Outside of approximately L = 30, the ion gyroperiod is the dominating scale suggesting that ion cyclotron damping of heavy ions plays a major role in heating magnetospheric plasma. We also present properties of the dispersion relationship and the polarization relationships of kinetic Alfvén waves including the important effects from the relativistic correction due to the displacement current in Ampère's law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9560-9573
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • auroral particle acceleration
  • ion cyclotron damping
  • Jupiter's magnetosphere
  • Landau damping
  • wave-particle interaction


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