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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 2;100(17):175003. Epub 2008 Apr 30.

The turbulent Alfvénic aurora.

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Space Science Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


It is demonstrated from observations that the Alfvénic aurora may be powered by a turbulent cascade transverse to the geomagnetic field from large MHD scales to small Alfvén wave scales of several electron skin depths and less. We show that the energy transport through the cascade is sufficient to drive the observed acceleration of electrons from near-Earth space to form the aurora. We find that regions of Alfvén wave dissipation, and particle acceleration, are localized or intermittent and embedded within a near-homogeneous background of large-scale MHD structures.

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