Relativistic Electron Microbursts as High-Energy Tail of Pulsating Aurora Electrons

Y. Miyoshi, S. Saito, S. Kurita, K. Asamura, K. Hosokawa, T. Sakanoi, T. Mitani, Y. Ogawa, S. Oyama, F. Tsuchiya, S. L. Jones, A. N. Jaynes, J. B. Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, by simulating the wave-particle interactions, we show that subrelativistic/relativistic electron microbursts form the high-energy tail of pulsating aurora (PsA). Whistler-mode chorus waves that propagate along the magnetic field lines at high latitudes cause precipitation bursts of electrons with a wide energy range from a few kiloelectron volts (PsA) to several megaelectron volts (relativistic microbursts). The rising tone elements of chorus waves cause individual microbursts of subrelativistic/relativistic electrons and the internal modulation of PsA with a frequency of a few hertz. The chorus bursts for a few seconds cause the microburst trains of subrelativistic/relativistic electrons and the main pulsations of PsA. Our simulation studies demonstrate that both PsA and relativistic electron microbursts originate simultaneously from pitch angle scattering by chorus wave-particle interactions along the field line.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL090360
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 16
Externally publishedYes


  • computer simulation
  • microbursts
  • pulsating aurora
  • wave-particle interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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