EVIDENCE OF THE EARTH’S INNER RADIATION BELTS DURING THE LOW SOLAR AND GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY OBTAINED WITH THE STEP-F INSTRUMENT

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15407/rpra26.03.224

O. V. Dudnik, O. V. Yakovlev

Abstract


Purpose: The subject of research is the spatio-temporal charged particles in the Earth’s magnetosphere outside the South Atlantic magnetic Anomaly during the 11-year cycle of solar activity minimum. The work aims at searching for and clarifying the sustained and unstable new spatial zones of enhanced subrelativistic electron fluxes at the altitudes of the low Earth orbit satellites.

Design/methodology/approach: Finding and ascertainment of new radiation belts of the Earth were made by using the data analysis from the D1e channel of recording the electrons of energies of ΔEe=180–510 keV  and protons of energies of ΔEp=3.5–3.7 MeV of the satellite telescope of electrons and protons (STEP-F) aboard the “CORONAS-Photon” Earth low-orbit satellite. For the analysis, the data array with the 2 s time resolution normalized onto the active area of the position-sensitive silicon matrix detector and onto the solid angle of view of the detector head of the instrument was used.

Findings: A sustained structure of three electron radiation belts in the Earth’s magnetosphere was found at the low solar and geomagnetic activity in May 2009. The two belts are known since the beginning of the space age as the Van Allen radiation belts, another additional permanent layer is formed around the drift shell with the McIlwaine parameter of L = 1.65±0.05. On some days in May 2009, the new two inner radiation belts were observed simultaneously, one of those latter being recorded between the investigated sustained belt at L≈1.65 and the Van Allen inner belt at L≈2.52. Increased particle fluxes in this unstable belt have been formed with the drift shell L≈2.06±0.14.

Conclusions: The new found inner radiation belts are recorded in a wide range of geographic longitudes λ, both at the ascending and descending nodes of the satellite orbit, from λ1≈150° to λ2≈290°. Separately in the Northern or in the Southern hemispheres, outside the outer edge of the outer radiation belt, at L≥7–8, there are cases of enhanced particle fl ux density in wide range of L-shells. These shells correspond to the high-latitude region of quasi-trapped energetic charged particles. Increased particle fluxes have been recorded up to the bow shock wave border of the Earth’s magnetosphere (L≈10-12).

Key words: radiation belt, STEP-F instrument, electrons, magnetosphere, drift L-shell, particle flux density

Manuscript submitted 23.07.2021

Radio phys. radio astron. 2021, 26(3): 224-238

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Keywords


radiation belt; STEP-F instrument; electrons; magnetosphere; drift L-shell; particle flux density

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