Characteristics of Pitch Angle Distributions of 100s Kev Electrons in the Slot Region and Inner Radiation Belt­­­­­­­­

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Hong Zhao1, Xinlin Li2, J Bernard Blake3, Joseph Fennell4, Seth G Claudepierre5, Daniel N. Baker6, Allison N Jaynes1 and David Malaspina7, (1)University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Univ Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (4)Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (5)Aerospace Corporation Santa Monica, Santa Monica, CA, United States, (6)University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, CO, United States, (7)University of Colorado, Boulder, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, CO, United States
The pitch angle distribution (PAD) of energetic electrons in the slot region and inner radiation belt received little attention in the past decades due to the lack of quality measurements. Using the state-of-art pitch-angle-resolved data from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) instrument onboard the Van Allen Probes, a detailed analysis of 100s keV electron PADs below L =4 is performed, in which the PADs is categorized into three types: normal (flux peaking at 90°), cap (exceedingly peaking narrowly around 90°) and 90°-minimum (lower flux at 90°) PADs. By examining the characteristics of the PADs of 460 keV electrons for over a year, we find that the 90°-minimum PADs are generally present in the inner belt (L<2), while normal PADs dominate at L~3.5-4. In the region between, 90°-minimum PADs dominate during injection times and normal PADs dominate during quiet times. Cap PADs appear mostly at the decay phase of storms in the slot region and are likely caused by the pitch angle scattering of hiss waves. Fitting the normal PADs into sinnα form, the parameter n is much higher below L=3 than that in the outer belt and relatively constant in the inner belt but changes significantly in the slot region (2<L<3) during injection times. As for the 90°-minimum PADs, by performing a detailed case study, we find in the slot region this type of PAD is likely caused by chorus wave heating, but this mechanism can hardly explain the formation of 90°-minimum PADs at the center of inner belt. These new and compelling observations, made possible by the high-quality measurements of MagEIS, present a challenge for the wave modelers, and future work is still needed to fully understand them.