Plasmaspheric Density Structures and Dynamics: Properties Observed by the CLUSTER and IMAGE Missions

  • Fabien Darrouzet
  • Dennis L. Gallagher
  • Nicolas André
  • Donald L. Carpenter
  • Iannis Dandouras
  • Pierrette M. E. Décréau
  • Johan De Keyser
  • Richard E. Denton
  • John C. Foster
  • Jerry Goldstein
  • Mark B. Moldwin
  • Bodo W. Reinisch
  • Bill R. Sandel
  • Jiannan Tu


Plasmaspheric density structures have been studied since the discovery of the plasmasphere in the late 1950s. But the advent of the Cluster and Image missions in 2000 has added substantially to our knowledge of density structures, thanks to the new capabilities of those missions: global imaging with Image and four-point in situ measurements with Cluster. The study of plasma sources and losses has given new results on refilling rates and erosion processes. Two-dimensional density images of the plasmasphere have been obtained. The spatial gradient of plasmaspheric density has been computed. The ratios between H+, He+ and O+ have been deduced from different ion measurements. Plasmaspheric plumes have been studied in detail with new tools, which provide information on their morphology, dynamics and occurrence. Density structures at smaller scales have been revealed with those missions, structures that could not be clearly distinguished before the global images from Image and the four-point measurements by Cluster became available. New terms have been given to these structures, like “shoulders”, “channels”, “fingers” and “crenulations”. This paper reviews the most relevant new results about the plasmaspheric plasma obtained since the start of the Cluster and Image missions.


Plasmasphere Cluster Image Plasma Structures 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabien Darrouzet
    • 1
  • Dennis L. Gallagher
    • 2
  • Nicolas André
    • 3
  • Donald L. Carpenter
    • 4
  • Iannis Dandouras
    • 5
  • Pierrette M. E. Décréau
    • 6
  • Johan De Keyser
    • 1
  • Richard E. Denton
    • 7
  • John C. Foster
    • 8
  • Jerry Goldstein
    • 9
  • Mark B. Moldwin
    • 10
  • Bodo W. Reinisch
    • 11
  • Bill R. Sandel
    • 12
  • Jiannan Tu
    • 11
  1. 1.Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)NASAHuntsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Research and Scientific Support Department (RSSD)ESANoordwijkThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Space, Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory (STAR)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (CESR)CNRS/Université de ToulouseToulouseFrance
  6. 6.Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l’Environnement (LPCE)CNRS/Université d’OrléansOrléansFrance
  7. 7.Physics and Astronomy DepartmentDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  8. 8.Haystack ObservatoryMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)WestfordUSA
  9. 9.Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)San AntonioUSA
  10. 10.Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP)University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  11. 11.Center for Atmospheric ResearchUniversity of Massachusetts-Lowell (UML)LowellUSA
  12. 12.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL)University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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