Banded Ion Morphology: Main and Recovery Storm Phases

  1. Tom Chang,
  2. M. K. Hudson,
  3. J. R. Jasperse,
  4. R. G. Johnson,
  5. P. M. Kintner and
  6. M. Schulz
  1. R. A. Frahm1,
  2. P. H. Reiff1,
  3. J. D. Winningham2 and
  4. J. L. Burch2

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM038p0098

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

How to Cite

Frahm, R. A., Reiff, P. H., Winningham, J. D. and Burch, J. L. (1986) Banded Ion Morphology: Main and Recovery Storm Phases, in Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere (eds T. Chang, M. K. Hudson, J. R. Jasperse, R. G. Johnson, P. M. Kintner and M. Schulz), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM038p0098

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Space Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX 77251

  2. 2

    Department of Space Sciences, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78284

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900636

Online ISBN: 9781118664216



  • Magnetosphere—Congresses;
  • Ionosphere—Congresses;
  • Ion flow dynamics—Congresses;
  • Space plasmas—Congresses


Ion bands appear in a spectrogram display as a continuous line of enhanced ion energy flux, whose median energy increases as the satellite travels poleward in the low and mid-altitude magnetosphere. These ion bands occur with highest energy flux at zero degrees pitch angle. Ion bands similar to those described previously have been investigated using data from the Low Altitude Plasma Instrument (LAPI) and High Altitude Plasma Instrument (HAPI) flown on the Dynamics Explorer (DE) satellites. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a statistical study of band occurrence and to present and describe the current models for band formation. The morphology of ion bands has been examined for main and recovery storm phases covering the period from September 1981 to December 1981. Bands are more likely to be seen during the main phase of magnetic storms than during recovery phase. Bands are more prevalent in the evening sector and occur at higher invariant latitudes (∼5°) than those in the pre-noon sector. Two current models have been proposed to describe bands or band-like signatures in ion spectrograms. The first is a time-of-flight effect as in the bouncing ion clusters (seen at geosynchronous orbit). The second is convective dispersion, where ions from the opposite hemisphere's ionosphere experience significant motion perpendicular to magnetic field lines and become dispersed in latitude as they travel parallel to a magnetic field line. The data tend to favor convective dispersion, although time-of-flight effects can also be seen.