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Keywords:

  • Alfvenic aurora;
  • THEMIS;
  • aurora;
  • poleward boundary intensification

[1] The Cascades-2 sounding rocket was launched on 20 March 2009 at 11:04:00 UT from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, and flew across a series of poleward boundary intensifications (PBIs). The rocket initially crosses a diffuse arc, then crosses the equatorward extent of one PBI (a streamer), and finally crosses the initiation of a separate PBI before entering the polar cap. Each of the crossings have fundamentally different in situ electron energy and pitch angle structure, and different ground optics images of visible aurora. It is found that the diffuse arc has a quasi-static acceleration mechanism, and the intensification at the poleward boundary has an Alfvénic acceleration mechanism. The streamer shows characteristics of both types of acceleration. PFISR data provide ionospheric context for the rocket observations. Three THEMIS satellites in close conjunction with the rocket foot point show earthward flows and slight dipolarizations in the magnetotail associated with the in situ observations of PBI activity. An important goal of the Cascades-2 study is to bring together the different observational communities (rocket, ground cameras, ground radar, satellite) with the same case study. The Cascades-2 experiment is the first sounding rocket observation of a PBI sequence, enabling a detailed investigation of the electron signatures and optical aurora associated with various stages of a PBI sequence as it evolves from an Alfvénic to a more quasi-static structure.