Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Ion cyclotron resonance heated conics: Theory and observations


  • G. B. Crew,

  • Tom Chang,

  • J. M. Retterer,

  • W. K. Peterson,

  • D. A. Gurnett,

  • R. L. Huff


A general theoretical treatment of energetic oxygen ion conic formation through cyclotron resonance with magnetospheric electromagnetic plasma turbulence is presented. With suitable assumptions, there exists a similarity regime in which the process may be profitably characterized by two parameters νo and σ, corresponding roughly to the velocity scale and pitch angle of the ion distribution. These may be independently determined from the wave and particle observations of a conic event, as is illustrated here using typical auroral passes of the Dynamics Explorer 1 satellite. The predictions of the theory are found to be in excellent agreement with the observations.