Origin of electron acceleration in the radiation belts of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Antarctic Survey
Department Name: Science Programmes

Abstract

Electron acceleration inside planetary and astrophysical magnetic fields is a major unresolved scientific question. At the Earth, intense electromagnetic waves at frequencies of a few kiloHertz are very effective in accelerating electrons up to relativistic energies via resonant wave-particle interactions. These acceleration mechanisms have only recently been recognised as major processes for forming the Earth's outer Van Allen radiation belt and have spurred new satellite missions such as NASA's Radiation Belt Storms Probes (RBSP), and proposed missions by Canada (ORBITALS) and Japan (ERG) to test these ideas. Intense electromagnetic waves are also observed inside the magnetic fields of Jupiter and Saturn and are strong enough to cause electron acceleration on a timescale comparable to that for transport. This suggests that resonant electron acceleration could be important for all planetary radiation belts. The aim of this proposal is to test the hypothesis that resonant wave-particle interactions are a major electron acceleration process at Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, and play a major role in the formation of radiation belts at these planets. The research will leave a legacy of understanding that will last long after the completion of the project, develop computer models that will be of direct use to the space insurance, satellite construction, and satellite service industries, and provide training for a young scientist.

Publications

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Fear R (2013) Autumn MIST 2012 in Astronomy & Geophysics

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Woodfield E (2014) The origin of Jupiter's outer radiation belt in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

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Jackel B (2014) Auroral spectral estimation with wide-band color mosaic CCDs in Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems

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Lilensten J (2014) What characterizes planetary space weather? in The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review

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Menietti J (2014) Survey analysis of chorus intensity at Saturn SURVEY ANALYSIS OF SATURN CHORUS in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

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Woodfield Emma E. (2014) Autumn MIST 2013 in ASTRONOMY & GEOPHYSICS

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Menietti J (2015) Survey of Saturn Z -mode emission in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

 
Description We have found that special types of radio waves can accelerate electrons to very high energies inside the magnetic field at Jupiter, and help form Jupiter's radiation belt. This is a missing link in the formation of Jupiter's intense radiation belts.
Exploitation Route Taken forward in another STFC grant. Also the work is being taken forward by our US collaborators in their new NASA grant.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Other

 
Description They have been referenced in other research papers. Also the results have been used in the general media, by a personal appearances on BBC TV and BBC Radio.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Title BAS Radiation Belt Model 
Description The BAS radiation belt model is designed to simulate the variability of the Earth's radiation belt. It is a 3d model and is the equivalent to a global circulation model in atmopsheric physics - but applied to space. It is used as a basic research tool to understand the physical processes governing the acceleration, transport and loss of electrons in the radiation belts. It has also been applied to Jupiter and Saturn. There is a verion of the code that is used to predict the radiation belts for space weather applications. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model has been used to show how plasma waves play a major role in the formation of the Earth's radiation belts. 
URL https://www.bas.ac.uk/science/research-models/bas-radiation-belt-model-bas-rbm/
 
Title BAS Radiation belt model for Jupiter 
Description Global physics based model of the radiation belts at Jupiter 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact 4 research papers. 
 
Title HOTRAY 
Description HOTRAY is a computer program that can trace the path of any type of wave through a hot magnetised plasma. It has been used successfully in the Earth's ionosphere, magnetosphere, Jupiter, Saturn, the solar wind and in lab plasmas, 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact There are over 100 peer-reviewed research publications using HOTRAY, including collaborations with USA, Japan, and Europe. 
URL https://www.bas.ac.uk/science/research-models/hotray-ray-tracing-model/
 
Title PADIE code 
Description The PADIE code is designed to compute the pitch angle and energy diffusion co-efficients due to the interaction between plasma waves and high energy charged particles in space - in particualr the radiation belts of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact It has been used in many peer reviewed research papers to show how different types of plasma waves can cause acceleration and loss of high energy electrons and protons in space. 
URL https://www.bas.ac.uk/science/research-models/padie-pitch-angle-diffusion-of-ions-and-electrons/
 
Description Dr J D Menietti 
Organisation University of Iowa
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I lead the research project
Collaborator Contribution Analysis of data from the Galileo probae at Jupiter and Cassini spacecraft at Saturn
Impact see our research papers
 
Description Yuri Shprits 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Scientific input to research papers.
Collaborator Contribution Scientific input to research papers.
Impact Shprits, Y. Y., J. D. Menietti, X. Gu, K. C. Kim, and R. B. Horne (2012), Gyro-resonant interactions between the radiation belt electrons and whistler mode chorus waves in the radiation environments of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn, a comparative study, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A11216, doi: 10.1029/2012JA018031. Menietti, J. D., Y. Y. Shprits, R. B. Horne, E. Woodfield, G. B. Hospodarsky, and D. A. Gurnett (2012), Chorus, ECH, and Z-mode emissions observed at Jupiter 2 and Saturn and possible electron acceleration, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A12214, doi: 12210.11029/12012JA018187. Woodfield, E. E., R. B. Horne, S.A. Glauert, J. D. Menietti, and Y. Y. Shprits (2013), Electron acceleration at Jupiter: greater input from cyclotron-resonant interaction with whistler-mode chorus waves, Ann Geophys., 31, 1619-1630, doi:10.5194/angeo-31-1619-2013. not multi-disciplinary
Start Year 2011
 
Description 6th Alfven Conference, UCL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented a poster of my work at the 6th Alfven Conference on the Plasma Interactions with Solar System Objects at UCL in London, UK in 2014. This was an international workshop and my poster sparked very useful discussions, particularly with some of my colleagues from the USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description AGU Talk 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, USA to around 70 of my international colleagues including students which sparked interesting discussion from the audience both in the questions and following on afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Autumn MIST report 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Co-authored meeting report of the Autumn MIST meeting in 2012. (November 2012, Burlington House, London, www.mist.ac.uk). Published in 2013.

Fear, R. and Woodfield, E. E., Autumn MIST 2012,
Astronomy & Geophysics 2013 54: 2.21-2.24 (published April 2013)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013
 
Description Autumn MIST report 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Wrote a meeting report for the MIST (Magnetosphere Ionosphere Solar Terrestrial) community meeting which took place in November 2013. The meeting report was published in the Astronomy and Geophysics magazine (from the Royal Astronomical Society) which is available worldwide.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://astrogeo.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/2/2.22.abstract
 
Description EGU 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria to an audience of about 80 on my international colleagues. The talk was well received and sparked good discussions following on from it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description EGU 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented a poster at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria. I spoke to several of my international colleagues at my poster and many more will have seen it during the day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Hosted Work Experience Student (2012) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 1 A -Level student spent 1 week working with me. We did multiple activities including learning to programme in a Linux environment, visits to instruments on site, talking to many different scientists. As a result of the week, the student produced a computer routine to produce a movie of the data from our model.

The student wrote a computer programme that we used in our research. She really enjoyed her week with us and went away with a very positive attitude towards science and our research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Hot Spring MIST 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk to the national MIST meeting (Magnetosphere Ionosphere Solar Terrestrial) to an audience of my scientific peers and students. The talk was well received and prompted discussion with my colleagues from other institutions on how my work would impact upon theirs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description MOP talk 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented my work on Jupiter at the biennial meeting of the Magnetospheres of the Outer Planets meeting in Athens, Greece to an audience of the international leaders in the field. My talk was very well received and I was later invited to speak at the next meeting in 2015 on radiation belts at the planets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description NAM 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented my work on Jupiter at the National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth to an audience of about 40 of my scientific peers and students. The talk was well received with several questions sparking curious interest about how my work could be applied in very different situations (e.g. brown dwarfs)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation at the EGU meeting, Vienna 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Questions after the talk.

Other scientists started to change their ideas about how radiation belts at Jupiter are formed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation at the URSI General Assembly, Beijing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Questions and discussion

Scientists from the Applied Physics Lab, Johns Hopkins University, USA, came and asked us for advice on selecting the uper energy levels for the new particle detector to be flown on the ESA JUICE mission to Jupiter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description RAS "G" Meeting poster 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presentation at meeting on "M-I coupling and auroral emissions at planets in our solar system and beyond" at the Royal Astronomical Society in London. Audience of scientific peers including postgraduate students of approximately 60 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Radio Interview for BBC local radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I did a media interview for the Paul Hudson Weather Show which is broadcast on BBC Radios York, Leeds, Sheffield, Humberside and Lincolnshire.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016jv8d
 
Description Star wars 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Cambridge News published an article following a press release.

Some members of the public said they saw the article in the newspaper and were very interested.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Stargazing live, back to Earth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Appeared on the BBC2 programme Stargazing live, Back to Earth. I sat next to Brian Cox and Dara O'Brien on panel discussion. This was broadcast live.



Radio Cambridgeshire asked for a radio interview the following day. I received lots of positive comments from people who saw the programme from a wide variety of backgrounds unrelated to science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description URSI 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact My colleague and co-author, Richard Horne, presented my work on my behalf at the URSI meeting in China to an international audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014