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Fine structure in plasma waves and radiation near the plasma frequency in Earth's foreshockNovel observations are presented of intrunsic fine structure in the frequency spectrum of electomagnetic (EM) radiation and plasma waves near the electron plasma frequency f(sub p) during a period of unusually high interplanetary magnetic field strength. Measured using the wideband receiver on the International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) 1 spacecraft, fine-structured emissions are observed both in the solar wind and the foreshock, The fine structure is shown to correspond to emissions spaced above f(sub p) near half harmonies of the electon cyclotron frequency f(sub ce), i.e., near f(sub p) + nf(sub ce)/2. These appear to be the first space physics observations of emissions spaced by f(sub ce)/2. Indirect but strong arguments are used to discriminate between EM and electrostatic (ES) signals, to identify whether ISEE 1 is in the solar wind or the foreshock, and to determine the relative frequencies of the emissions and the local f(sub p). The data are consistent with generation of the ES and EM emissions in the foreshock, with subsequent propagation of the EM emissions into the solar wind. It remains possible that some emissions currently identified as ES have significant EM character. The ES and EM emisions often merge into one another with minimal changes in frequency, arguing that their source regions and generation mechanisms are related and imposing significant constraints on theories. The f(sub ce)/2 ES and EM fine structures observed may be intrinsic to the emission mechanisms or to superposition of two series of signals with f(sub ce) spacing that differ in starting frequency by f(sub ce)/2. Present theories for nonlinear wave coupling processes, cyclotron maser emission, and other linear instability processes are all unable to explain multiple EM and/or ES components spaced by approximately f(sub ce)/2 above f(sub p) for f(sub p)/f(sub ce) much greater than 1 and typical for shock beams parameters. Suitable avenues for further theoretical research are identified. Empirically, the observed fine structures appear very similar to those in split bnad and multiple-lane type II solar radio bursts; interpretation of both these type II fine structures in terms of f(sub ce)/2 splitting is suggested, thereby supporting and generalizing a suggestion by Wild (1950). A possible application to continuum radiation is mentioned. The ubiquity of these fine structures in the Earth's f(sub p) radiation and foreshock waves remains unknown. Only the ISEE 1 wideband receiver has sufficient frequency resolution (approximately less than or equal to 100 Hz) to perform a dedicated search. Further study of the ubiquity of these fine structures, of how reliably the splitting corresponds to f(sub ce)/2, and of the other interpretations above is necessary.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Cairns, Iver H.
(Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 99
Issue: A12
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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