Radiation Belt Electron Losses: a balloon's perspective
- Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from 4:10pm to 5:00pm
- Reid Hall - view map
The earth's radiation belts, the first discovery of the space age, are still revealing dynamics that until now have been poorly understood. The belts present a unique opportunity to measure in situ a local environment to study plasma physics processes and particle acceleration that are widespread throughout the universe. Energetic electrons (> 500keV) are among the most volatile of the local populations with fluxes often showing more than 2 orders of magnitude dropouts over tens of minutes. And population variations showing little correlation with obvious geomagnetic indices, suggesting a delicate balance between acceleration of new populations and loss of existing ones. These electrons in the outer radiation belt are of particular interest because of the hazards they pose to spacecraft and astronauts. This talk will present an overview of these electron populations and then describe the observation of relativistic electron losses made from high altitude balloons making measurements at the magnetically connected footpoints of these radiation belt field lines.
- Department of Physics