Quiescent Discrete Auroral Arcs: A Review of Magnetospheric Generator Mechanisms

Joseph E. Borovsky, Joachim Birn, Marius M. Echim, Shigeru Fujita, Robert L. Lysak, David J. Knudsen, Octav Marghitu, Antonius Otto, Tomo Hiko Watanabe, Takashi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the longstanding questions of space science is: How does the Earth’s magnetosphere generate auroral arcs? A related question is: What form of energy is extracted from the magnetosphere to drive auroral arcs? Not knowing the answers to these questions hinders our ability to determine the impact of auroral arcs on the magnetospheric system. Magnetospheric mechanisms for driving quiescent auroral arcs are reviewed. Two types of quiescent arcs are (1) low-latitude non-Alfvénic (growth-phase) arcs magnetically connecting to the electron plasma sheet and (2) high-latitude arcs magnetically connecting near the plasma-sheet boundary layer. The reviews of the magnetospheric generator mechanisms are separated for the two types of quiescent arcs. The driving of auroral-arc currents in large-scale computer simulations is examined. Predicted observables in the magnetosphere and in the ionosphere are compiled for the various generator mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Volume216
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Johan De Keyser, Mike Henderson, Michael Hesse, Joseph Lemaire, Bill Lotko, Romain Maggiolo, Noora Partamies, Michael Roth, and Michelle Thomsen for helpful conversations. JEB was supported by the NASA Heliophysics LWS TRT program via grants NNX16AB75G and NNX14AN90G, by the NSF GEM Program via award AGS-1502947, by the NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator Program via grants NNX17AB71G, by the NSF SHINE program via award AGS-1723416. JB acknowledges support by NASA grants 80NSSC18K0834 and 80NSSC18K1452 and NSF grant 1602655. MME acknowledges support from the Romanian Ministry of Research (PCCDI Grant VESS), the Romanian Space Agency (STAR project 182-OANA) and the Belgian Solar Terrestrial Center of Excellence (STCE). SF is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP17K05671. DJK is supported by the National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada. RLL is supported by NSF grant AGS-1558134. OM acknowledges support by SIFACIT contract 4000118383/16/I–EF with ESA and STAR EXPRESS contract 119/2017 with Romanian Space Agency. THW is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16H04086 and JP17H01177. The authors also wish to thank the International Space Science Institute ISSI-Bern for organization of this review and for financial support of the team meeting.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Johan De Keyser, Mike Henderson, Michael Hesse, Joseph Lemaire, Bill Lotko, Romain Maggiolo, Noora Partamies, Michael Roth, and Michelle Thomsen for helpful conversations. JEB was supported by the NASA Heliophysics LWS TRT program via grants NNX16AB75G and NNX14AN90G, by the NSF GEM Program via award AGS-1502947, by the NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator Program via grants NNX17AB71G, by the NSF SHINE program via award AGS-1723416. JB acknowledges support by NASA grants 80NSSC18K0834 and 80NSSC18K1452 and NSF grant 1602655. MME acknowledges support from the Romanian Ministry of Research (PCCDI Grant VESS), the Romanian Space Agency (STAR project 182-OANA) and the Belgian Solar Terrestrial Center of Excellence (STCE). SF is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP17K05671. DJK is supported by the National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada. RLL is supported by NSF grant AGS-1558134. OM acknowledges support by SIFACIT contract 4000118383/16/I?EF with ESA and STAR EXPRESS contract 119/2017 with Romanian Space Agency. THW is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16H04086 and JP17H01177. The authors also wish to thank the International Space Science Institute ISSI-Bern for organization of this review and for financial support of the team meeting.

Keywords

  • Aurora
  • Discrete arcs
  • Magnetosphere
  • Plasma physics

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