Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The double probe, floating potential instrumentation on ISEE-1 is producing reliable direct measurements of the ambient DC electric field at the bow shock, at the magnetopause, and throughout the magnetosheath, tail plasma sheet and plasmasphere. In the solar wind and in middle latitude regions of the magnetosphere spacecraft sheath fields obscure the ambient field under low plasma flux conditions such that valid measurements are confined to periods of moderately intense flux. Initial results show: (a) that the DC electric field is enhanced by roughly a factor of two in a narrow region at the front, increasing B, edge of the bow shock, (b) that scale lengths for large changes in E at the sub-solar magnetopause are considerably shorter than scale lengths associated with the magnetic structure of the magnetopause, and (c) that the transverse distribution of B-aligned E-fields between the outer magnetosphere and ionospheric levels must be highly complex to account for the random turbulent appearance of the magnetospheric fields and the lack of corresponding time-space variations at ionospheric levels. Spike-like, non-oscillatory, fields lasting 〈0.2 s are occasionally seen at the bow shock and at the magnetopause and also intermittently appear in magnetosheath and plasma sheet regions under highly variable field conditions. These suggest the existence of field phenomena occurring over dimensions comparable to the probe separation and ⩽c/ωpe (the ‘characteristic’ electron cyclotron radius) where ω pe is the electron plasma frequency.
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