This study reports observations of energetic ions upstream of the Earth's quasi-parallel bow shock by Cluster at times when interspacecraft separation distances were large. We analyze two individual upstream ion events during high solar wind velocity conditions to compare the spatial evolution of partial energetic ion densities in front of the Earth's bow shock along the magnetic field line. Using a bow shock model, we determine the distance of SC1 and SC3 to the bow shock surface parallel to the magnetic field. The CIS-HIA instrument on board Cluster provides partial energetic ion densities in four energy channels between 10 and 32 keV. Using the differences of the partial energetic ion densities observed on SC1 and SC3, and the distances of the spacecraft to the bow shock, we determine the spatial gradient of partial energetic ion densities at various distances from the bow shock. We show, for the first time, that the e-folding distance and the diffusion coefficient of the diffuse ions become unusually small when these ions interact with high-intensity waves generated by a strong field-aligned beam.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science