Comparison of energetic electron flux and phase space density in the magnetosheath and in the magnetosphere Journal Article uri icon



  • Whether energetic electrons (10s of keV) in the magnetosheath can be directly transported into the magnetosphere and further energized through radial diffusion is significant in understanding the physical mechanisms for producing the radiation belt electrons (>100s of keV) in the magnetosphere. In this study, we analyze more than two hundred magnetopause crossing events using the energetic electron and magnetic field measurements from Geotail and compare the flux and phase space density (PSD) of the energetic electrons on both sides of the magnetopause. It is found that for most of the events (>70%), the fluxes and PSDs of energetic electrons in the magnetosheath are less than those in the magnetosphere, suggesting that the energetic electrons in the magnetosheath cannot be a direct source sufficient for the energetic electrons inside the magnetosphere. In fact, our analysis suggests a possible leakage of the energetic electrons from inside to outside the magnetopause. By investigating the average energetic electron flux distribution in the magnetosheath, we find that the energetic electron fluxes are higher near the bow shock and the magnetopause than in between. The high energetic electron flux near the bow shock can be understood as due to energization of electrons when they go through the bow shock. The relatively low flux of the energetic electrons in between indicates that it is difficult for the energetic electrons to travel from the bow shock to the magnetopause and vice versa, possibly because the energetic electrons near the bow shock and the magnetopause are all on open magnetic field lines and these two relatively intense energetic electron populations in the magnetosheath rarely get mixed.

publication date

  • May 1, 2012

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • February 17, 2014 1:55 AM

Full Author List

  • Luo B; Li X; Tu W; Gong J; Liu S

author count

  • 5

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0148-0227

Additional Document Info


  • 117


  • A5