Analytic Ion Conics in the Magnetosphere

  1. Tom Chang,
  2. M. K. Hudson,
  3. J. R. Jasperse,
  4. R. G. Johnson,
  5. P. M. Kintner and
  6. M. Schulz
  1. G. B. Crew1,
  2. Tom Chang1,
  3. J. M. Retterer2 and
  4. J. R. Jasperse3

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM038p0286

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

How to Cite

Crew, G. B., Chang, T., Retterer, J. M. and Jasperse, J. R. (1986) Analytic Ion Conics in the Magnetosphere, 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/GM038p0286

Author Information

  1. 1

    M.I.T. Center for Space Research, Cambridge, MA 02139

  2. 2

    Space Data Analysis Laboratory, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167

  3. 3

    Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Bedford, MA 01731

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


We consider the formation of ion conics through the agency of lower hybrid wave turbulence in the Earth's magnetosphere. This process begins within a layer where significant wave-particle interactions result in a velocity space diffusion of the initially cold ion population. The conic results from subsequent adiabatic motion along geomagnetic field lines. We discuss a model for this process which permits an asymptotic determination of the ion distribution function. In particular, we assume that a suitable model for the energy spectral density of the turbulence is available. Identification of the ratio of ion thermal speed to mean wave speed as a small parameter leads to a uniformly valid asymptotic solution of the resulting quasilinear diffusion equation. These results are compared to a different approach in which a Monte Carlo procedure is used to obtain the ion distribution function. In this method, while approximations are not required in order to solve the equation, the solution is restricted by the need to include a sufficient number of particles in order to have reliable statistics. The two approaches are thus complementary, and used together can provide a wealth of information about the conic formation process. In particular we have found that conic formation is significantly affected by the presence of field-aligned potentials, as well as the spatial extent and spectrum of the turbulence.