Victor Pinto (UCLA), Influence of the Solar Wind in the dynamics of relativistic electrons on the Earth's Radiation Belts

October 31, 2018 3:30pm
MSA 7124


The Earth’s radiation belts are composed of very energetic electrons that can, if unperturbed, remain trapped for long periods of time. Generally, the dynamics of the electron population in the outer radiation belt is extremely variable, and as such, its understanding is very important predicting the effects of Space Weather, given the possible consequences that relativistic electrons can have on the electronics of satellites. Radiation belt variability is ultimately driven by the solar wind and its interaction with the Earth’s magnetosphere. In this project, we have used in-situ measurements from the solar wind and from the outer radiation belt at geosynchronous orbit (GOES satellites) and across the outer radiation belt (Van Allen Probes) to explore the relation between different geomagnetic perturbations associated with the solar wind and the increases fluxes of relativistic (MeV) electrons. We aim to (1) establish what solar wind parameters are statistically relevant for the enhancement and depletion of MeV electrons at geostationary orbit independent of storm-time condition, (2) study the extent of this solar wind influence on the whole outer belt and (3) understand the morphology of  outer radiation belts enhancement events to further explore if different regions are influenced by the solar wind in different ways to those already established.