University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Space Physics Seminar

Tuesday, May 5th 2009
12:20 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in 143 Physics
Speaker: Eric Donovan, University of Calgary
Subject: New Perspectives on Auroral Arcs

We do not know how auroral arcs are formed, whether or not there are different types of arcs (meaning different underlying physics), and what they correspond to in the magnetosphere. Given the ubiquity of arcs and their obvious importance to processes such as the substorm, resolving the questions we have about arcs has got to be one of the key questions in space physics. In this talk I will survey recent observations that I believe will be important to our ultimate understanding of this space physical phenomena. These observations included the differences between meso-scale (~10 km) and small-scale arcs, the orientation of arcs and their longitudinal extension across many hours of local time, the fact that arcs occur polewards of the ion isotropy boundary, waves that propagate along arcs, and the fact that some arcs oscillate and others do not. I will finish with an overview of how I think these observations relate to theories of arc formation.

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