Solar Wind Electron Parameters Determination on Wind Spacecraft Using Quasi-Thermal Noise Spectroscopy

Mihailo M. Martinović, Kristopher G. Klein, Savannah R. Gramze, Himanshu Jain, Milan Maksimović, Arnaud Zaslavsky, Chadi Salem, Ioannis Zouganelis, Zoran Simić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Quasi-thermal noise (QTN) spectroscopy has been extensively used as an accurate tool to measure electron density and temperature in space plasmas. If the antenna length to radius ratio is sufficiently large, a typical measured spectrum clearly shows a resonance at the electron plasma frequency and a lower frequency plateau that quantify the electron distributions. The Wind spacecraft, with its long, thin antennas, is considered the mission par excellence for the implementation of the QTN method. However, a major issue in applying QTN spectroscopy is contamination from signals other than the ubiquitous plasma noise in the vicinity of plasma frequency, affecting the measured spectra and confusing their physical interpretation. In this work, we present a new method for selecting the observations of uncontaminated QTN, distinguishing it from other plasma and spacecraft effects. The selected measurements are used to obtain accurate values for both thermal and suprathermal electron parameters. Testing of the method on 1.5M observations under various conditions in the solar wind, including slow and fast wind and solar transients, confirms the reliability and accuracy of the method with no systematic flaws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JA028113
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Wind spacecraft
  • quasi-thermal noise
  • solar wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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