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The terrestrial plasma source - A new perspective in solar-terrestrial processes from Dynamics ExplorerThe geospace environment has been viewed as a mixing bowl for plasmas of both solar and terrestrial origin. The present perspective on the nature of the supply mechanisms has undergone a radical evolution over the past decade, particularly during the five years of the Dynamics Explorer mission. During this period, the terrestrial source has increased in importance in both magnitude and character of ionospheric outflow. These outflows include the classical polar wind, the cleft ion fountain, the auroral ion fountain, and the polar cap. The earth can be envisioned as a multifaceted fountain which ejects particles from different spatial locations spread around the globe. These particles exhibit a range of masses from 1 to 32 amu and a range of energies from 1 eV to 10 keV. The total flux of this ionospheric outflow is very large: adequate to supply the entire magnetospheric particle population. And the implications of the outflow are significant across a broad spectrum of solar-terrestrial processes ranging from sources of magnetospheric plasmas, to influences on ionospheric density and temperature structure, to energy transfer in phenomena such as stable auroral red arcs. The Dynamics Explorer mission has made a major contribution in the characterization of the terrestrial plasma source.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Chappell, Charles R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 13, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1988
Publication Information
Publication: Reviews of Geophysics
Volume: 26
ISSN: 8755-1209
Subject Category
Distribution Limits