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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Works

Cover page of Determining EMIC Wave Vector Properties Through Multi-Point Measurements: The Wave Curl Analysis.

Determining EMIC Wave Vector Properties Through Multi-Point Measurements: The Wave Curl Analysis.

(2021)

Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves play important roles in particle loss processes in the magnetosphere. Determining the evolution of EMIC waves as they propagate and how this evolution affects wave-particle interactions requires accurate knowledge of the wave vector, k. We present a technique using the curl of the wave magnetic field to determine k observationally, enabled by the unique configuration and instrumentation of the Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) spacecraft. The wave curl analysis is demonstrated for synthetic arbitrary electromagnetic waves with varying properties typical of observed EMIC waves. The method is also applied to an EMIC wave interval observed by MMS on October 28, 2015. The derived wave properties and k from the wave curl analysis for the observed EMIC wave are compared with the Waves in Homogenous, Anisotropic, Multi-component Plasma (WHAMP) wave dispersion solution and with results from other single- and multi-spacecraft techniques. We find good agreement between k from the wave curl analysis, k determined from other observational techniques, and k determined from WHAMP. Additionally, the variation of k due to the time and frequency intervals used in the wave curl analysis is explored. This exploration demonstrates that the method is robust when applied to a wave containing at least 3-4 wave periods and over a rather wide frequency range encompassing the peak wave emission. These results provide confidence that we are able to directly determine the wave vector properties using this multi-spacecraft method implementation, enabling systematic studies of EMIC wave k properties with MMS.

Cover page of A search for technosignatures around 31 sun-like stars with the green bank telescope at 1.15-1.73 GHz

A search for technosignatures around 31 sun-like stars with the green bank telescope at 1.15-1.73 GHz

(2021)

We conducted a search for technosignatures in 2018 and 2019 April with the L-band receiver (1.15-1.73 GHz) of the 100 m diameter Green Bank Telescope. These observations focused on regions surrounding 31 Sun-like stars near the plane of the Galaxy. We present the results of our search for narrowband signals in this data set, as well as improvements to our data processing pipeline. Specifically, we applied an improved candidate signal detection procedure that relies on the topographic prominence of the signal power, which nearly doubles the signal detection count of some previously analyzed data sets. We also improved the direction-of-origin filters that remove most radio frequency interference (RFI) to ensure that they uniquely link signals observed in separate scans. We performed a preliminary signal injection and recovery analysis to test the performance of our pipeline. We found that our pipeline recovers 93% of the injected signals over the usable frequency range of the receiver and 98% if we exclude regions with dense RFI. In this analysis, 99.73% of the recovered signals were correctly classified as technosignature candidates. Our improved data processing pipeline classified over 99.84% of the ∼26 million signals detected in our data as RFI. Of the remaining candidates, 4539 were detected outside of known RFI frequency regions. The remaining candidates were visually inspected and verified to be of anthropogenic nature. Our search compares favorably to other recent searches in terms of end-to-end sensitivity, frequency drift rate coverage, and signal detection count per unit bandwidth per unit integration time.

Cover page of Organic Material on Ceres: Insights from Visible and Infrared Space Observations.

Organic Material on Ceres: Insights from Visible and Infrared Space Observations.

(2020)

The NASA/Dawn mission has acquired unprecedented measurements of the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, the composition of which is a mixture of ultra-carbonaceous material, phyllosilicates, carbonates, organics, Fe-oxides, and volatiles as determined by remote sensing instruments including the VIR imaging spectrometer. We performed a refined analysis merging visible and infrared observations of Ceres' surface for the first time. The overall shape of the combined spectrum suggests another type of silicate not previously considered, and we confirmed a large abundance of carbon material. More importantly, by analyzing the local spectra of the organic-rich region of the Ernutet crater, we identified a reddening in the visible range, strongly correlated to the aliphatic signature at 3.4 µm. Similar reddening was found in the bright material making up Cerealia Facula in the Occator crater. This implies that organic material might be present in the source of the faculae, where brines and organics are mixed in an environment that may be favorable for prebiotic chemistry.

Cover page of Oceanic plateau of the Hawaiian mantle plume head subducted to the uppermost lower mantle.

Oceanic plateau of the Hawaiian mantle plume head subducted to the uppermost lower mantle.

(2020)

The Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain that includes the Hawaiian volcanoes was created by the Hawaiian mantle plume. Although the mantle plume hypothesis predicts an oceanic plateau produced by massive decompression melting during the initiation stage of the Hawaiian hot spot, the fate of this plateau is unclear. We discovered a megameter-scale portion of thickened oceanic crust in the uppermost lower mantle west of the Sea of Okhotsk by stacking seismic waveforms of SS precursors. We propose that this thick crust represents a major part of the oceanic plateau that was created by the Hawaiian plume head ~100 million years ago and subducted 20 million to 30 million years ago. Our discovery provides temporal and spatial clues of the early history of the Hawaiian plume for future plate reconstructions.

Cover page of Magnetotail reconnection onset caused by electron kinetics with a strong external driver.

Magnetotail reconnection onset caused by electron kinetics with a strong external driver.

(2020)

Magnetotail reconnection plays a crucial role in explosive energy conversion in geospace. Because of the lack of in-situ spacecraft observations, the onset mechanism of magnetotail reconnection, however, has been controversial for decades. The key question is whether magnetotail reconnection is externally driven to occur first on electron scales or spontaneously arising from an unstable configuration on ion scales. Here, we show, using spacecraft observations and particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, that magnetotail reconnection starts from electron reconnection in the presence of a strong external driver. Our PIC simulations show that this electron reconnection then develops into ion reconnection. These results provide direct evidence for magnetotail reconnection onset caused by electron kinetics with a strong external driver.

Cover page of Daytime Dynamo Electrodynamics With Spiral Currents Driven by Strong Winds Revealed by Vapor Trails and Sounding Rocket Probes.

Daytime Dynamo Electrodynamics With Spiral Currents Driven by Strong Winds Revealed by Vapor Trails and Sounding Rocket Probes.

(2020)

We investigate the forces and atmosphere-ionosphere coupling that create atmospheric dynamo currents using two rockets launched nearly simultaneously on 4 July 2013 from Wallops Island (USA), during daytime Sq conditions with ΔH of -30 nT. One rocket released a vapor trail observed from an airplane which showed peak velocities of >160 m/s near 108 km and turbulence coincident with strong unstable shear. Electric and magnetic fields and plasma density were measured on a second rocket. The current density peaked near 110 km exhibiting a spiral pattern with altitude that mirrored that of the winds, suggesting the dynamo is driven by tidal forcing. Such stratified currents are obscured in integrated ground measurements. Large electric fields produced a current opposite to that driven by the wind, believed created to minimize the current divergence. Using the observations, we solve the dynamo equation versus altitude, providing a new perspective on the complex nature of the atmospheric dynamo.

Cover page of Characteristics of Minor Ions and Electrons in Flux Transfer Events Observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission.

Characteristics of Minor Ions and Electrons in Flux Transfer Events Observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission.

(2020)

In this study, the ion composition of flux transfer events (FTEs) observed within the magnetosheath proper is examined. These FTEs were observed just upstream of the Earth's postnoon magnetopause by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft constellation. The minor ion characteristics are described using energy spectrograms, flux distributions, and ion moments as the constellation encountered each FTE. In conjunction with electron data and magnetic field observations, such observations provide important contextual information on the formation, topologies, and evolution of FTEs. In particular, minor ions, when combined with the field-aligned streaming of electrons, are reliable indicators of FTE topology. The observations are also placed (i) in context of the solar wind magnetic field configuration, (ii) the connection of the sampled flux tube to the ionosphere, and (iii) the location relative to the modeled reconnection line at the magnetopause. While protons and alpha particles were often depleted within the FTEs relative to the surrounding magnetosheath plasma, the He+ and O+ populations showed clear enhancements either near the center or near the edges of the FTE, and the bulk plasma flow directions are consistent with magnetic reconnection northward of the spacecraft and convection from the dayside toward the flank magnetopause.

Cover page of Magnetic Reconnection Inside a Flux Rope Induced by Kelvin-Helmholtz Vortices.

Magnetic Reconnection Inside a Flux Rope Induced by Kelvin-Helmholtz Vortices.

(2020)

On 5 May 2017, MMS observed a crater-type flux rope on the dawnside tailward magnetopause with fluctuations. The boundary-normal analysis shows that the fluctuations can be attributed to nonlinear Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) waves. Reconnection signatures such as flow reversals and Joule dissipation were identified at the leading and trailing edges of the flux rope. In particular, strong northward electron jets observed at the trailing edge indicated midlatitude reconnection associated with the 3-D structure of the KH vortex. The scale size of the flux rope, together with reconnection signatures, strongly supports the interpretation that the flux rope was generated locally by KH vortex-induced reconnection. The center of the flux rope also displayed signatures of guide-field reconnection (out-of-plane electron jets, parallel electron heating, and Joule dissipation). These signatures indicate that an interface between two interlinked flux tubes was undergoing interaction, causing a local magnetic depression, resulting in an M-shaped crater flux rope, as supported by reconstruction.

Cover page of Observations, Meteorites, and Models: A Preflight Assessment of the Composition and Formation of (16) Psyche.

Observations, Meteorites, and Models: A Preflight Assessment of the Composition and Formation of (16) Psyche.

(2020)

Some years ago, the consensus was that asteroid (16) Psyche was almost entirely metal. New data on density, radar properties, and spectral signatures indicate that the asteroid is something perhaps even more enigmatic: a mixed metal and silicate world. Here we combine observations of Psyche with data from meteorites and models for planetesimal formation to produce the best current hypotheses for Psyche's properties and provenance. Psyche's bulk density appears to be between 3,400 and 4,100 kg m-3. Psyche is thus predicted to have between ~30 and ~60 vol% metal, with the remainder likely low-iron silicate rock and not more than ~20% porosity. Though their density is similar, mesosiderites are an unlikely analog to bulk Psyche because mesosiderites have far more iron-rich silicates than Psyche appears to have. CB chondrites match both Psyche's density and spectral properties, as can some pallasites, although typical pallasitic olivine contains too much iron to be consistent with the reflectance spectra. Final answers, as well as resolution of contradictions in the data set of Psyche physical properties, for example, the thermal inertia measurements, may not be resolved until the NASA Psyche mission arrives in orbit at the asteroid. Despite the range of compositions and formation processes for Psyche allowed by the current data, the science payload of the Psyche mission (magnetometers, multispectral imagers, neutron spectrometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer) will produce data sets that distinguish among the models.