Observational Evidence of the Drift-Mirror Plasma Instability in Earth's Inner Magnetosphere



We report on evidence for the generation of an ultra-low frequency plasma wave by the drift-mirror plasma instability in the dynamic plasma environment of Earth's inner magnetosphere. The plasma measurements are obtained from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment onboard NASA's Van Allen Probes Satellites. We show that the measured wave-particle interactions are driven by the drift-mirror instability. Theoretical analysis of the data demonstrates that the drift-mirror mode plasma instability condition is well satisfied. We also demonstrate, for the first time, that the measured wave growth rate agrees well with the predicted linear theory growth rate. Hence, the in-situ space plasma observations and theoretical analysis demonstrate that local generation of ultra-low frequency and high amplitude plasma waves can occur in the high beta plasma conditions of Earth's inner magnetosphere. © 2019 Author(s).



Electromagnetic fields, Magnetohydrodynamics, Plasma stability, Plasma waves, Radiation belts, Magnetosphere, Plasma frequencies


The work reported herein was supported by the NASA Van Allen Probes RBSPICE instrument project by JHU/APL subcontract 937836 to the New Jersey Institute of Technology under NASA Prime Contract No. NAS5-01072; AFOSR grant of FA9550-16-1-0344 and NASA NNX15AF55G; NSF Grant No. 1502923; The EMFISIS data were processed as work supported by JHU/APL 921647 under NASA Prime contract NAS5-01072;


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2019 The Authors