VLF Transmitters as Tools for Monitoring the Plasmasphere

Dávid Koronczay, János Lichtenberger, Lilla Juhász, Péter Steinbach, George Hospodarsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Continuous burst mode very low frequency (VLF) measurements were recorded on the Van Allen Probes satellites and are analyzed to detect pulses from the Russian Alpha (RSDN-20) ground-based navigational system between January and March 2016. Based on the wave characteristics of these pulses and on the position of the spacecraft, the signals propagated mostly in ducted mode in the plasmasphere. Knowledge of the propagation path allowed us to carry out a monochromatic wave propagation inversion to obtain plasmaspheric electron densities. We compared the obtained densities with independent in situ measurements on the spacecraft. The results show good agreement, validating our inversion process. This contributes to validating the field-aligned density profile model routinely used in the inversion of whistlers detected on the ground. Furthermore, our method can provide electron densities at regimes where no alternative measurements are available on the spacecraft. This raises the possibility of using this method as an additional tool to measure and monitor plasmaspheric electron densities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9312-9324
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • VLF transmitter
  • ducted
  • ducted propagation
  • electron density
  • plasmasphere
  • plasmaspheric density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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