Document Type

Article - Open Access

Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics


American Geophysical Union

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Auroral pulsations are a convenient diagnostic of wave-particle interactions in the magnetosphere. A case study of a daytime Pc3 (22–100 mHz) auroral pulsation event, measured with a ~2 Hz sampling all-sky camera at South Pole Station (74.4°S magnetic latitude) on 17 May 2012, is presented. The daytime Pc3 auroral pulsations were most active in a closed field line region where the aurora was dominated by diffuse green-line emissions and within ±2 h of magnetic local noon. Usually, but not always, the corresponding periodic variations were recorded with a colocated search coil magnetometer. Of particular interest is the two-dimensional auroral signature, indicating that the temporal luminosity variations at a given point were due to repeated formation and horizontal motion of faint, nonpulsating auroral patches with scale sizes of ~100 km. The individual patches propagated equatorward with speeds of 15 km s−1 up to 20–25 km s−1 one after another along the magnetic meridian through local magnetic zenith. These properties differ considerably from typical pulsating aurorae, being periodic on-off luminosity variations in a particular auroral patch and drifting in accordance with the convection electric field in the magnetosphere. We speculate that such repetitive patterns of the fast-moving auroral patches, being another aspect of the daytime Pc3 auroral pulsations, may be a visible manifestation of compressional Pc3 waves which propagate earthward and cause modulation of precipitating keV electron fluxes in the dayside outer magnetosphere.