Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Statistical Analysis of Energetic Particles and Magnetic Fluctuations in the Van Allen Belts

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posted on 2024-01-31, 10:50 authored by Szymon Kaltenberg

The Van Allen belts are a region of great importance to modern space infrastructure due to the presence of high-energy charged particles that can interfere with sensitive electronics. Turbulence is known to affect plasma densities in the magnetosphere by allowing for different modes of transport and by dissipating energy from the solar wind into the geomagnetic field. The Van Allen probes provide a comprehensive data set of measurements of both high-energy particle densities and the magnetic field vector. This particle data from HOPE allows for analyses into the correlation between high-energy particle densities and L-shell, as well the relative abundances of different types of particles. Protons and oxygen ions displayed clear delineation between two populations, which likely correspond to each of the radiation belts. Electrons strangely did not vary significantly in density as L increased. A comparison between energetic and thermal electrons from HOPE and EFW in the Van Allen belts was made. A strange feature at L = 3.8 was seen in the thermal electron data that has some characteristics of the plasmapause, but appear too sharp and unvarying. The magnetic field measurements from EMFISIS allow for investigating the fluctuations in the magnetic field in different areas around the Earth and comparing how they vary with the other parameters. Contrary to expectations, the mean and standard deviation of the magnetic field fluctuations did not vary significantly with L-shell. Finally, the normalised fluctuations in the magnetic field were compared with HOPE energetic particle densities. No correlation was found between the magnetic fluctuations and any of the HOPE particle species. The reasons for the lack of correlation are unknown, but improvements to resolution may shed light on smaller scale information that was averaged over and masked in our study.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280120 Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

2 Strategic basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Chemical and Physical Sciences


Parashar, Tulasi