, Volume 173, Issue 1-4, pp 49-102
Date: 21 Apr 2012

Particle Acceleration in the Magnetotail and Aurora

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This paper deals with acceleration processes in the magnetotail and the processes that enhance particle precipitation from the tail into the ionosphere through electric fields in the auroral acceleration region, generating or intensifying discrete auroral arcs. Particle acceleration in the magnetotail is closely related to substorms and the occurrence, and consequences, of magnetic reconnection. We discuss major advances in the understanding of relevant acceleration processes on the basis of simple analytical models, magnetohydrodynamic and test particle simulations, as well as full electromagnetic particle-in-cell simulations. The auroral acceleration mechanisms are not fully understood, although several, sometimes competing, theories and models received experimental support during the last decades. We review recent advances that emphasize the role of parallel electric fields produced by quasi-stationary or Alfvénic processes.