Multi-experiment determination of plasma density and temperature
- Cite this article as:
- Decreau, P.M.E., Etcheto, J., Knott, K. et al. Space Sci Rev (1978) 22: 633. doi:10.1007/BF00223945
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An attempt has been made to combine data from five instruments on GEOS-1 in order to determine the characteristics of the ambient cold plasma, assess the effects of spacecraft sheaths on the different techniques and establish cross calibration criteria. In addition to measuring plasma density and temperature it is necessary to consider the influence of satellite potential and motion, ionic composition, ion drifts (electric fields), electrons emitted from spacecraft surfaces and any consequent departures from isotropy or Maxwellian distribution.
9 October 1977 was selected for the study, the orbit covers a range of L-values between 3.5 and 7.5 giving outbound and inbound plasmapause crossings with plasma densities spanning more than two orders of magnitude. Eclipse data from 7 February 1978 is used to determine the influence of photoelectron emission.
Three techniques — active sounding of the plasma frequency resonance (S-301), a mutual impedance measurement (S-304) and DC electric field probe determination of floating potential (S-300) — utilize the long boom sensors in either AC or DC modes. Electrons and ions are measured directly by electrostatic analysers (S-302), mounted on one short radial boom. On the day chosen for study here ions are predominantly protons as determined by the body mounted ion composition experiment (S-303).
The techniques using the 20 m long booms agree well in determining density whereas the short boom and body mounted ion detectors are seriously compromised when satellite potential becomes several volts positive. Measurements of satellite potential and plasma temperature agree within ≈ 20% among the several instruments making these measurements. Data obtained during the transition from eclipse to sunlight conditions show no discontinuity in the long boom instruments caused by the sudden appearance of photoelectrons.