The detection of ultra-relativistic electrons in low Earth orbit
Lopez Rosson, G.
De Keyser, J.
De Donder, E.
low Earth orbit
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Aims. To better understand the radiation environment in low Earth orbit (LEO), the analysis of in-situ observations of a variety of particles, at different atmospheric heights, and in a wide range of energies, is needed. Methods. We present an analysis of energetic particles, indirectly detected by the large yield radiometer (LYRA) instrument on board ESA's project for on-board autonomy 2 (PROBA2) satellite as background signal. Combining energetic particle telescope (EPT) observations with LYRA data for an overlapping period of time, we identified these particles as electrons with an energy range of 2 to 8 MeV. Results. The observed events are strongly correlated to geo-magnetic activity and appear even during modest disturbances. They are also well confined geographically within the L = 4–6 McIlwain zone, which makes it possible to identify their source. Conclusions. Although highly energetic particles are commonly perturbing data acquisition of space instruments, we show in this work that ultra-relativistic electrons with energies in the range of 2–8 MeV are detected only at high latitudes, while not present in the South Atlantic Anomaly region.
CitationKatsiyannis, A.C.; Dominique, M.; Pierrard, V.; Lopez Rosson, G.; De Keyser, J.; Berghmans, D.; Kruglanski, M.; Dammasch, I.E.; De Donder, E. (2018). The detection of ultra-relativistic electrons in low Earth orbit. , Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate, Vol. 8, A01, DOI: 10.1051/swsc/2017041.