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Improved Determination of Plasma Density Based on Spacecraft Potential of the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission Under Active Potential Control
Austrian Acad Sci, Space Res Inst, A-8042 Graz, Austria..
Austrian Acad Sci, Space Res Inst, A-8042 Graz, Austria..
Austrian Acad Sci, Space Res Inst, A-8042 Graz, Austria..
Austrian Acad Sci, Space Res Inst, A-8042 Graz, Austria..
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2019 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, ISSN 0093-3813, E-ISSN 1939-9375, Vol. 47, no 8, p. 3636-3647Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Data from the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, in particular, the spacecraft potential measured with and without the ion beams of the active spacecraft potential control (ASPOC) instruments, plasma electron moments, and the electric field, have been employed for an improved determination of plasma density based on spacecraft potential. The known technique to derive plasma density from spacecraft potential sees the spacecraft behaving as a plasma probe which adopts a potential at which the ambient plasma current and one of photoelectrons produced at the surface and leaving into space are in equilibrium. Thus, the potential is a function of the plasma current, and plasma density can be determined using measurements or assumptions on plasma temperature. This method is especially useful during periods when the plasma instruments are not in operation or when spacecraft potential data have significantly higher time resolution than particle detectors. However, the applicable current-voltage characteristic of the spacecraft has to be known with high accuracy, particularly when the potential is actively controlled and shows only minor residual variations. This paper demonstrates recent refinements of the density determination coming from: 1) the reduction of artifacts in the potential data due to the geometry of the spinning spacecraft and due to effects of the ambient electric field on the potential measurements and 2) a calibration of the plasma current to the spacecraft surfaces which is only possible by comparison with the variable currents from the ion beams of ASPOC. The results are discussed, and plasma densities determined by this method are shown in comparison with measurements by the Fast Plasma Instrument (FPI) for some intervals of the MMS mission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2019. Vol. 47, no 8, p. 3636-3647
Keywords [en]
Electrostatic potentials, ion emission, magnetosphere, plasma measurements, space vehicles, surface charging
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-257647DOI: 10.1109/TPS.2019.2911425ISI: 000480316700003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85070453252OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-257647DiVA, id: diva2:1348421
Note

QC 20190904

Available from: 2019-09-04 Created: 2019-09-04 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist, Per-Arne

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