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).