, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 347-359

Theory of magnetic pulsations

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We present theory of long period (pc 3 to pc 5) magnetic pulsations. It consists of two parts; one (we call type A) deals with a resonant Alfvén wave excitation at a local field line by a monochromatic wave generated at the magnetopause, and the other (we call type B) deals with an excitation of a surface eigenmode by an externally applied impulse at a location with a rapid spatial change of plasma parameter(s).

For the type A pulsations, the theory gives the frequency, the sense and the ellipticity of the polarization and the orientation angle of the major axis as a function of the magnetospheric parameters. In particular, it is shown that the orientation angle of the major axis of the polarization ellipse is a sensitive function of the direction of the wave propagation in longitude and the change of the number density and the magnetic flux density in the radial direction, hence it can be used as an important diagnostic parameter.

In the type B pulsations, the theory gives the excitation frequency and the damping rate of the pulsations using the derived surface eigenmode. Example of an application to the observed magnetic field oscillations at the plasmapause is presented in which the observed frequency and the damping rate are used to estimate the plasmapause density and its radial density gradient.