With electrostatic probes, the electric field component E∥ along the magnetic field B was comprehensively investigated in a collisionless plasma, the density of which was of the order of 1010 cm-3. The plasma in the experiment has several properties in common with the plasma of the ionosphere/magnetosphere scaled to laboratory dimensions. It is produced by means of electron cyclotron resonance in a microwave cavity located in the magnetic field gradient in one half of a magnetic mirror field. The magnetic field strength is 3600G in the resonance zone and 1800G in the middle of the mirror field. The measurements show that a stationary E∥ exists everywhere in the plasma, where the magnetic field gradient grad11 B in the direction of the field is different from zero. The direction of E‖ is opposite to that of grad‖B. The total potential drop along B between the resonance zone and the midplane of the mirror field is of the order of kilovolts. E‖ accelerates ions along B to energies of the order of kilo electron volts. Experimental parameters of importance for the production of E‖ are the neutral gas pressure p (normally a few times 10− Torr), the microwave power (usually about 2kW), and the mirror ratio γ in the mirror region opposite to the cavity side, γ was normally <2. For γ>2·3, an instability develops and no stationary E‖ remains. As p is increased, E‖ decreases successively. In terms of the mean free path λ, it is found that λ>5−10L is a necessary condition for the existence of E‖. L is twice the distance between the cavity and the midplane of the mirror field. In the experiment, the ion and electron pitch angle distributions are forced to be different; the ion velocity is mainly parallel to B, and the electron velocity essentially perpendicular to JB, and as consequence E‖ is created. In this way an experimental demonstration is presented of the theoretically predicted relation between E‖ and the pitch angle distributions. When imposing sufficiently strong radial electric fields Er (fields perpendicular to B), the distribution of the potential along B is deformed, probably due to changes in the particle distributions caused by E‖. We think that our results strongly support the idea that Et is produced in the magnetosphere, and is at least sometimes an important mechanism for the acceleration and precipitation of auroral particles.