Articles | Volume 16, issue 5
31 May 1998
31 May 1998

Probing discrete auroral arcs by ionospheric tomography

J. Moen, S. T. Berry, L. Kersley, and B. Lybekk

Abstract. Optical observations of 557.7 nm and 630.0 nm emissions from discrete auroral arcs in the post-noon sector have been related to localised field-aligned enhancements in the spatial distribution of E- and F-layer electron density respectively seen in images reconstructed by ionospheric tomography. Results from two case studies are presented in which meridian scanning photometer and all-sky camera observations on Svalbard have been compared to electron-density structures found by tomographic inversion of measurements made by reception of radio signals at a chain of four stations at high latitude. The F-layer features are long-lived and show exact correspondence to the red-line emissions. Transient arcs in green-line intensity result in E-region structures that are resolved in one case, but not in another where the dynamic auroral forms are separated by less than one degree of latitude. The signature of an inverted-V precipitation event is clearly evident in one example.

Key words. Ionosphere (Auroral ionosphere) · Magnetospheric physics (Auroral phenomena) · Radio science (Ionospheric physics)