Auroral arcs and diffuse auroras are common phenomena at high latitudes, though characteristics of their source plasma and fields have not been well understood. We report the first observation of fields and particles including their pitch-angle distributions in the source region of auroral arcs and diffuse auroras, using data from the Arase satellite at L ~ 6.0–6.5. The auroral arcs appeared and expanded both poleward and equatorward at local midnight from ~0308 UT on 11 September 2018 at Nain (magnetic latitude: 66°), Canada, during the expansion phase of a substorm, while diffuse auroras covered the whole sky after 0348 UT. The top part of auroral arcs was characterized by purple/blue emissions. Bidirectional field-aligned electrons with structured energy-time spectra were observed in the source region of auroral arcs, while source electrons became isotropic and less structured in the diffuse auroral region afterwards. We suggest that structured bidirectional electrons at energies below a few keV were caused by upward field-aligned potential differences (upward electric field along geomagnetic field) reaching high altitudes (~30,000 km) above Arase. The bidirectional electrons above a few keV were probably caused by Fermi acceleration associated with the observed field dipolarization. Strong electric-field fluctuations and earthward Poynting flux were observed at the arc crossing and are probably also caused by the field dipolarization. The ions showed time-pitch-angle dispersion caused by mirror reflection. These results indicate a clear contrast between auroral arcs and diffuse auroras in terms of source plasma and fields and generation mechanisms of auroral arcs in the inner magnetosphere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science