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Spherical Harmonic Analysis of Particle Velocity Distribution Function: Comparison of Moments and Anisotropies using Cluster DataThis paper presents a spherical harmonic analysis of the plasma velocity distribution function using high-angular, energy, and time resolution Cluster data obtained from the PEACE spectrometer instrument to demonstrate how this analysis models the particle distribution function and its moments and anisotropies. The results show that spherical harmonic analysis produced a robust physical representation model of the velocity distribution function, resolving the main features of the measured distributions. From the spherical harmonic analysis, a minimum set of nine spectral coefficients was obtained from which the moment (up to the heat flux), anisotropy, and asymmetry calculations of the velocity distribution function were obtained. The spherical harmonic method provides a potentially effective "compression" technique that can be easily carried out onboard a spacecraft to determine the moments and anisotropies of the particle velocity distribution function for any species. These calculations were implemented using three different approaches, namely, the standard traditional integration, the spherical harmonic (SPH) spectral coefficients integration, and the singular value decomposition (SVD) on the spherical harmonic methods. A comparison among the various methods shows that both SPH and SVD approaches provide remarkable agreement with the standard moment integration method.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Gurgiolo, Chris (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Vinas, Adolfo F. (Bitteroot Basic Research, Inc. Hamilton, MT, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 114
Subject Category
Distribution Limits