Simultaneous appearance of isolated auroral arcs and Pc 1 geomagnetic pulsations at subauroral latitudes

K. Sakaguchi, K. Shiokawa, Y. Miyoshi, Y. Otsuka, T. Ogawa, K. Asamura, M. Connors

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We have been conducting observations of aurora and geomagnetic pulsations at Athabasca, Canada, located at a subauroral latitude (magnetic latitude: 62°, L ∼ 4.6), using an all-sky imager and an induction magnetometer. Isolated auroral arcs at wavelengths of 557.7 nm, 630.0 nm, and 486.1 nm (H β) were often observed at latitudes separated equatorward from the main auroral oval. From a 1-year observation (4 September 2005 to 3 September 2006), we found 13 isolated arc events. All these isolated arcs occurred coincidentally with Pc 1 geomagnetic pulsations, although there were nine other Pc 1 events without isolated arcs in the field of view of the imager. The arcs were observed in both pre- and post-midnight sectors and tended to appear during the late recovery phase of geomagnetic storms. The isolated arcs had limited latitudinal and longitudinal widths of less than 230 km and 250-800 km, respectively. We found that as isolated arcs moved equatorward (poleward), the frequencies of the simultaneous Pc 1 pulsations increased (decreased). Using the Tsyganenko-02 magnetic field model, the observed Pc 1 frequencies were almost the same as the frequencies of He+ electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves at the equatorial plane connected to observed isolated arcs. These results indicate that interactions of spatially localized EMIC waves with ring current ions cause high-energy ion precipitation and associated isolated auroras at subauroral latitudes. These results also imply that the dynamics and instabilities in the inner magnetosphere can be monitored as low-latitude auroral emissions away from the ordinary auroral oval.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA05201
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


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