Whistler-mode in a hot plasma


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One type of plasma wave fundamental to shaping our near-Earth environment are whistler-mode waves. These waves create distinct sounds dependent on the plasma they travel through.

For example, the region tight around Earth, called the plasmasphere, is relatively dense with cold plasma. Waves traveling inside this region sound much different than those outside. While different whistler-mode waves sing different sounds, they all move in the same way, with the same electromagnetic properties. When lighting strikes the ground, the electrical discharge can also trigger whistler-mode plasma waves. Since the lightning creates a range of frequencies, and since higher frequencies travel faster, the wave howls a falling pitch, giving the wave its name — a whistler.

Out beyond the plasmasphere, where the plasma is tenuous and relatively warm, whistler-mode waves create primarily rising chirps, like a flock of noisy birds.

Ionosphere - Wikipedia

This type of wave is called chorus and is created when electrons are pushed towards the night side of Earth — which in some cases, may be caused by magnetic reconnection, a dynamic explosion of tangled magnetic field lines on the dark side of Earth. When these low energy electrons hit the plasma, they interact with particles in the plasma, imparting their energy and creating a unique rising tone.

Whistler-mode waves traveling inside the plasmasphere are called plasmaspheric hiss and sound a lot like radio station static. Some scientists think hiss is also caused by lightning strikes, but others think it could be caused by chorus waves that have leaked inside the plasmasphere. Both chorus and hiss waves are key shapers of the near-Earth environment including the Van Allen radiation belts, doughnut-shaped rings of high-energy particles encircling the planet.

NASA scientists, with the help of the Van Allen Probes mission, are working to understand the dynamics of plasma waves to improve predictions of space weather, which can have damaging effects on satellites and telecommunications signals. As a part of their observations, the scientists have recorded these eerie sounds made by different plasma waves in the particle symphony surrounding Earth.

NASA Records the Eerie Sounds of Plasma Waves Surrounding Earth

As the spacecraft encounter a wave, sensors record the changes in the frequency of the electric and magnetic fields. Hospodarsky, G.


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Reeves, H. Spence, J. Satellite observations of a significant population of very oblique chorus waves in the outer radiation belt have fueled considerable interest in the effects of these waves on energetic electron scattering and acceleration. Further comparing measured refractive indexes with theoretical estimates incorporating hot plasma corrections to the wave dispersion, we provide the first experimental demonstration that suprathermal electrons indeed control the upper limit of the refractive index of highly oblique whistler mode waves.

Whistler-mode waves in a hot plasma

Such results further support the importance of incorporating very oblique waves into radiation belt models. N2 - Satellite observations of a significant population of very oblique chorus waves in the outer radiation belt have fueled considerable interest in the effects of these waves on energetic electron scattering and acceleration.


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AB - Satellite observations of a significant population of very oblique chorus waves in the outer radiation belt have fueled considerable interest in the effects of these waves on energetic electron scattering and acceleration. Physics and Astronomy Twin Cities.

Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts

Abstract Satellite observations of a significant population of very oblique chorus waves in the outer radiation belt have fueled considerable interest in the effects of these waves on energetic electron scattering and acceleration. Fingerprint radiation belts. Landau damping. Keywords Landau damping Van Allen Probes observation maximum refractive index oblique chorus waves thermal electron effects.

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Wygant, J. Geophysical Research Letters , 44 24 , 12,, In: Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. Geophysical Research Letters.

(901) 452-4516

Ma, Q. In: Geophysical Research Letters. Mourenas and W.

Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
Whistler-mode in a hot plasma Whistler-mode in a hot plasma
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