Stable auroral red (SAR) arcs are optical events with dominant 630.0-nm emission caused by low-energy electron heat flux into the topside ionosphere from the inner magnetosphere. SAR arcs are observed at subauroral latitudes and often occur during the recovery phase of magnetic storms and substorms. Past studies concluded that these low-energy electrons were generated in the spatial overlap region between the outer plasmasphere and ring-current ions and suggested that Coulomb collisions between plasmaspheric electrons and ring-current ions are more feasible for the SAR-arc generation mechanism rather than Landau damping by electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves or kinetic Alfvén waves. This work studies three separate SAR-arc events with conjunctions, using all-sky imagers and inner magnetospheric satellites (Arase and Radiation Belt Storm Probes [RBSP]) during non-storm-time substorms on December 19, 2012 (event 1), January 17, 2015 (event 2), and November 4, 2019 (event 3). We evaluated for the first time the heat flux via Coulomb collision using full-energy-range ion data obtained by the satellites. The electron heat fluxes due to Coulomb collisions reached ∼109 eV/cm2/s for events 1 and 2, indicating that Coulomb collisions could have caused the SAR arcs. RBSP-A also observed local enhancements of 7–20-mHz electromagnetic wave power above the SAR arc in event 2. The heat flux for the freshly detached SAR arc in event 3 reached ∼108 eV/cm2/s, which is insufficient to have caused the SAR arc. In event 3, local flux enhancement of electrons (<200 eV) and various electromagnetic waves were observed, these are likely to have caused the freshly detached SAR arc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science