In this study, by simulating the wave-particle interactions, we show that subrelativistic/relativistic electron microbursts form the high-energy tail of pulsating aurora (PsA). Whistler-mode chorus waves that propagate along the magnetic field lines at high latitudes cause precipitation bursts of electrons with a wide energy range from a few kiloelectron volts (PsA) to several megaelectron volts (relativistic microbursts). The rising tone elements of chorus waves cause individual microbursts of subrelativistic/relativistic electrons and the internal modulation of PsA with a frequency of a few hertz. The chorus bursts for a few seconds cause the microburst trains of subrelativistic/relativistic electrons and the main pulsations of PsA. Our simulation studies demonstrate that both PsA and relativistic electron microbursts originate simultaneously from pitch angle scattering by chorus wave-particle interactions along the field line.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL090360
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 16


  • computer simulation
  • microbursts
  • pulsating aurora
  • wave-particle interactions


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