Study of Dispersion of Lightning Whistlers Observed by Akebono Satellite in the Earth's Plasmasphere

I Putu Agung BAYUPATI  Yoshiya KASAHARA  Yoshitaka GOTO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E95-B    No.11    pp.3472-3479
Publication Date: 2012/11/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E95.B.3472
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Antennas and Propagation
lightning,  whistler,  dispersion,  path length,  plasmasphere,  electron density,  

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When the Akebono (EXOS-D) satellite passed through the plasmasphere, a series of lightning whistlers was observed by its analog wideband receiver (WBA). Recently, we developed an intelligent algorithm to detect lightning whistlers from WBA data. In this study, we analyzed two typical events representing the clear dispersion characteristics of lightning whistlers along the trajectory of Akebono. The event on March 20, 1991 was observed at latitudes ranging from 47.83 (47,83N) to -11.09 (11.09S) and altitudes between ∼2232 and ∼7537 km. The other event on July 12, 1989 was observed at latitudes from 34.94 (34.94N) and -41.89 (41.89S) and altitudes ∼1420–∼7911 km. These events show systematic trends; hence, we can easily determine whether the wave packets of lightning whistlers originated from lightning strikes in the northern or the southern hemispheres. Finally, we approximated the path lengths of these lightning whistlers from the source to the observation points along the Akebono trajectory. In the calculations, we assumed the dipole model as a geomagnetic field and two types of simple electron density profiles in which the electron density is inversely proportional to the cube of the geocentric distance. By scrutinizing the dipole model we propose some models of dispersion characteristic that proportional to the electron density. It was demonstrated that the dispersion D theoretically agrees with observed dispersion trend. While our current estimation is simple, it shows that the difference between our estimation and observation data is mainly due to the electron density profile. Furthermore, the dispersion analysis of lightning whistlers is a useful technique for reconstructing the electron density profile in the Earth's plasmasphere.