A Comparison of in situ measurements of inline image and inline image from Dynamics Explorer 2


  • W. B. Hanson,

  • W. R. Coley,

  • R. A. Heelis,

  • N. C. Maynard,

  • T. L. Aggson


Dynamics Explorer-2 provided the first opportunity to make a direct comparison of in situ measurements of the high-latitude convection electric field by two distinctly different techniques. The vector electric field instrument (VEFI) used antennae to measure the intrinsic electric fields and the ion drift meter (IDM) and retarding potential analyzer (RPA) measured the ion drift velocity vector, from which the convection electric field can be deduced. The data from three orbits having large electric fields at high latitude are presented, one at high, one at medium, and one at low altitudes. The general agreement between the two measurements of electric field is very good, with typical differences at high latitudes of the order of a few millivolts per meter, but there are some regions where the particle fluxes are extremely large (e.g., the cusp) and the disagreement is worse, probably because of IDM difficulties. The auroral zone potential patterns derived from the two devices are in excellent agreement for two of the cases, but not in the third, where bad attitude data may be the problem. At low latitudes there are persistent differences in the measurements of a few millivolts per meter, though these differences are quite constant from orbit to orbit. This problem seems to arise from some shortcoming in the VEFI measurements. Overall, however, these measurements confirm the concept of “frozen-in” plasma that drifts with velocity inline image within the measurement errors of the two techniques.