Origin of the Auroral Electric Field.
Final rept. Sep 76-Sep 77,
ALASKA UNIV FAIRBANKS GEOPHYSICAL INST
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A theory is presented to show that a pair of electric fields directed towards each other and perpendicular to the current sheet is inherent to electron current sheets in dynamic equilibrium. The theory predicts self-consistently the magnitude of the electric field and the width of the current sheet for a given current density and the ion and electron energy densities. It is also shown that the potential difference associated with the inherent electric fields is on the order of the ion thermal energy and that this potential difference must be distributed almost entirely along field lines between the plasma sheet and the ionosphere as a result of closing the auroral sheet current through the ionosphere. Thus, one can make a few important observable predictions, such as the relationship between the width and the brightness of an auroral arc, and the average energy of auroral electrons as a function of latitutdes. These predictions are qualitatively supported by observations. Author
- Atmospheric Physics