Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 9, 101–109, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-9-101-2002

Special issue: Theory and simulation of Solar System Plasmas, No. 3

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 9, 101–109, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-9-101-2002

  30 Apr 2002

30 Apr 2002

Modeling stretched solitary waves along magnetic field lines

L. Muschietti, I. Roth, C. W. Carlson, and M. Berthomier L. Muschietti et al.
  • Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Abstract. A model is presented for a new type of fast solitary waves which is observed in downward current regions of the auroral zone. The three-dimensional, coherent structures are electrostatic, have a positive potential, and move along the magnetic field lines with speeds on the order of the electron drift. Their parallel potential profile is flattened and cannot fit to the Gaussian shape used in previous work. We develop a detailed BGK model which includes a flattened potential and an assumed cylindrical symmetry around a centric magnetic field line. The model envisions concentric shells of trapped electrons slowly drifting azimuthally while bouncing back and forth in the parallel direction. The electron dynamics is analysed in terms of three basic motions that occur on different time scales characterized by the cyclotron frequency We , the bounce frequency wb , and the azimuthal drift frequency wg. The ordering We >> wb >> wg is required. Self-consistent distribution functions are calculated in terms of approximate constants of motion. Constraints on the parameters characterizing the amplitude and shape of the stretched solitary wave are discussed.