Electrostatic Shocks in the Auroral Magnetosphere

  1. S.-I. Akasofu and
  2. J.R. Kan
  1. Mary K. Hudson and
  2. Douglas W. Potter

Published Online: 26 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM025p0260

Physics of Auroral Arc Formation

Physics of Auroral Arc Formation

How to Cite

Hudson, M. K. and Potter, D. W. (1981) Electrostatic Shocks in the Auroral Magnetosphere, in Physics of Auroral Arc Formation (eds S.-I. Akasofu and J.R. Kan), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM025p0260

Author Information

  1. Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1981

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900506

Online ISBN: 9781118664360



  • Auroras—Addresses, essays, lectures


We present a 1d unmagnetized double layer simulation along with analytic considerations of the Langmuir-Bohm criterion for double layer formation. This requirement of large electron drift is not reduced by trapped thermal electron and ion populations; the assumption of a nonthermal population which requires the pre-existence of the double layer also cannot reduce the required electron drift. The double layer produced in the simulation by an electron drift equal to the electron thermal speed has eϕ/T e∼2 across a distance of 50λ D in a system 1024λ D ) long, where λD is the Debye length. Negative charge density spikes and holes in ion phase space accompany the double layer. A magnetized BGK mode solution to Poisson's equation for the potential profile perpendicular to B for cold counterstreaming electrons and ions demonstrates how the spatial structure changes in a magnetized plasma.