Dispersion of meteor trails in the geomagnetic field

Robson, R.E. (2001) Dispersion of meteor trails in the geomagnetic field. Physical Review E (Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics), 63 (2). 026404. pp. 1-5.

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A meteor trail is modeled by a long column of weakly ionized plasma, whose dispersion is controlled by the geomagnetic field and the requirement to maintain effective space charge neutrality. First we consider scattering of a radar signal from an underdense trail and derive an expression for the amplitude of the backscattered signal as a function of time. Then, starting from the basic momentum balance equations for electrons and ions in a partially ionized plasma, we require divergences of ion and electron fluxes to be equal, plus assume equality of the flux components along the magnetic field direction. The analysis is really applicable to a whole range of plasma problems, although we focus upon meteor trails for now. It is found that charged particle densities satisfy a diffusion equation and we obtain an expression for the ambipolar diffusion tensor and expressions for the ambipolar electric field, valid for arbitrary relative orientations of the magnetic field and meteor trail axis. Results are somewhat different from previous analyses in the meteor literature.

Item ID: 13376
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1550-2376
Keywords: electrons; ionospheres; ions; meteors; plasma
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2012 22:54
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics > 020201 Atomic and Molecular Physics @ 51%
02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics > 020204 Plasma Physics; Fusion Plasmas; Electrical Discharges @ 49%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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