A Model of Auroral Potential Structures Based on Dynamics Explorer Plasma Data

  1. T. E. Moore,
  2. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  3. T. W. Moorehead and
  4. W. B. Hanson
  1. J. L. Burch and
  2. C. Gurgiolo

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM044p0115

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma

How to Cite

Burch, J. L. and Gurgiolo, C. (1988) A Model of Auroral Potential Structures Based on Dynamics Explorer Plasma Data, in Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma (eds T. E. Moore, J. H. Waite, T. W. Moorehead and W. B. Hanson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM044p0115

Author Information

  1. Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas 78284

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1988

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900704

Online ISBN: 9781118664414



  • Space plasmas—Mathematical models;
  • Magnetosphere—Mathematical models;
  • Ionosphere—Mathematical models


Dynamics Explorer 1 hot plasma data are used to investigate three major features of the mid-altitude auroral electron distribution—the hole, the bump (at large pitch angles), and the loss cone. The results of a computer simulation show that these features can be approximately reproduced by a model involving an initial plasma sheet electron distribution and two potential drop regions that are widely separated in altitude. The observed distributions could not be reproduced, even qualitatively, by any of a wide range of distributed potential drops involving parallel electric fields at the point of observation.