Global ENA IMAGE Simulations
The energetic neutral atom (ENA) images obtained by the ISEE and POLAR satellites pointed the way toward global imaging of the magnetospheric plasmas. The Imager for Magneto-pause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) is the first mission to dedicate multiple neutral atom imagers: HENA, MENA and LENA, to monitor the ion distributions in high-, medium- and low-energy ranges, respectively. Since the start of science operation, HENA, MENA and LENA have been continuously sending down images of the ring current, ionospheric outflow, and magnetosheath enhancements from high pressure solar wind. To unfold multiple-dimensional (equal or greater than 3) plasma distributions from 2-dimensional images is not a trivial task. Comparison with simulated ENA images from a modeled ion distribution provides an important basis for interpretation of features in the observed images. Another approach is to develop image inversion methods to extract ion information from ENA images. Simulation studies have successfully reproduced and explained energetic ion drift dynamics, the transition from open to closed drift paths, and the magnetosheath response to extreme solar wind conditions. On the other hand, HENA has observed storm-time ion enhancement on the nightside toward dawn that differs from simple concepts but can be explained using more sophisticated models. LENA images from perigee passes reveal unexpected characteristics that now can be interpreted as evidence for a transient superthermal exospheric component that is gravitationally-influenced if not bound. In this paper, we will report ENA simulations performed during several IMAGE observed events. These simulations provide insight and explanations to the ENA features that were not readily understandable previously.
KeywordsSolar Wind Plasma Sheet Auroral Zone Pitch Angle Distribution Energetic Neutral Atom
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