Articles | Volume 20, issue 9
Special issue:
30 Sep 2002
 | 30 Sep 2002

Study of auroral forms and electron precipitation with the IRIS, DASI and EISCAT systems

C. F. del Pozo, F. Honary, N. Stamatiou, and M. J. Kosch

Abstract. Simultaneous observations with the IRIS, DASI and EISCAT systems are employed in the study of the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of auroral forms and precipitation regions during substorm activity. The evolution of the spectrum of precipitating electrons above Tromsø during the various phases of substorms is discussed. The flux-energy spectrum in the 1–320 keV range is derived from EISCAT electron density profiles in the 70–140 km altitude range. At the late growth phase the precipitation flux at the higher energies increases faster than at the lower energies. The flux is always greater in the lower energy side of the spectrum and reaches a maximum a few minutes after substorm onset, then it decays while the spectrum narrows. The systematic analysis of 2-D structures corresponding with well-defined optical and absorption features is also discussed. The orientation, characteristic lengths (elongation and width) and the gravity centre of these spatial features are determined. The statistical analysis of centre position and the sizes of the corresponding signatures is presented. When substorm onset falls within the common field of view, there is a close correspondence between the optical and the absorption signatures of the auroral forms, as well as in their over-all north-south motion characteristic of the various phases of the substorm. Optical signatures of arcs are more evenly distributed in space, being narrower and elongated along the L-shells, while the absorption regions appear more structured and patchy, although generally following the arcs’ shape and alignment. Cross-correlation of the time series of maximum absorption and maximum green-line emission is very high and seems to show a systematic delay of absorption relative to optical emission. Time delays are generally larger for disturbed conditions (40 to 60 s) than for moderately active conditions (10 to 20 s).

Key words. Interplanetary physics (energetic particles) – Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; ionosphere–magnetosphere interactions)

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