The feasibility of radio sounding in the magnetosphere


  • W. Calvert,

  • R. F. Benson,

  • D. L. Carpenter,

  • S. F. Fung,

  • D. L. Gallagher,

  • J. L. Green,

  • D. M. Haines,

  • P. H. Reiff,

  • B. W. Reinisch,

  • M. F. Smith,

  • W. W. L. Taylor


A radio sounder outside the plasmasphere could provide nearly continuous remote density measurements of the magnetopause and plasmasphere, as well as other important density features elsewhere in this region. Using digital integration and tuned reception at frequencies from a few kilohertz to a few megahertz with 400-m to 500-m tip-to-tip dipole antennas and 10 W transmitter power, such a sounder would be capable of 10% density resolution and 500 to 1300 km spatial resolution in only a few minutes at distances of up to 4 RE. By providing such detailed observations of its principal density structures, such a sounder would then clearly revolutionize magnetospheric research.