First Simultaneous Observation of a Night Time Medium-Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbance From the Ground and a Magnetospheric Satellite

K. Kawai, K. Shiokawa, Y. Otsuka, S. Oyama, Y. Kasaba, Y. Kasahara, F. Tsuchiya, A. Kumamoto, S. Nakamura, A. Matsuoka, S. Imajo, Y. Kazama, S. Y. Wang, S. W.Y. Tam, T. F. Chang, B. J. Wang, K. Asamura, S. Kasahara, S. Yokota, K. KeikaT. Hori, Y. Miyoshi, C. Jun, M. Shoji, I. Shinohara

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs) are a phenomenon widely and frequently observed over the ionosphere from high to low latitudes. Night time MSTIDs are caused generally by the polarization electric field in the ionosphere. However, propagation of this polarization electric field to the magnetosphere has not yet been identified. Here, we report the first observation of the polarization electric field and associated density variations of a night time MSTID in the magnetosphere. The MSTID event was observed by an all-sky airglow imager at Gakona (geographical latitude: 62.39°N, geographical longitude: 214.78°E, magnetic latitude: 63.20°N), Alaska. The Arase satellite passed over the MSTID in the inner magnetosphere at 0530–0800 UT (2030–2300 LT) on November 3, 2018. This MSTID, observed in 630 nm airglow images, was propagating westward with a horizontal wavelength of ∼165 km, a north–south phase front, and a phase velocity of ∼80 m/s. The Arase satellite footprint on the ionosphere crossed the MSTID in the direction nearly perpendicular to the MSTID phase fronts. The electric field and electron density observed by the Arase satellite showed periodic variation associated with the MSTID structure with amplitudes of ∼2 mV/m and ∼150 cm−3, respectively. The electric field variations projected to the ionosphere are mainly in the east-west direction and are consistent with the direction of the polarization electric field expected from MSTID growth by E × B drift. This observation indicates that the polarization electric field associated with the MSTID in the ionosphere is projected onto the magnetosphere, causing plasma density fluctuations in the magnetosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JA029086
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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