Brightness variations of the northern 630nm intertropical arc and the midnight pressure bulge over Eritrea
- 1Department of Physics, University of Asmara, P.O. Box 1220, Asmara, Eritrea
- 2CRESS, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, M3J 1P3, Canada
- *now: 123 Ninth Street, Toronto, M8V 3E5, Canada
Abstract. The nightglow brightness at 630nm from the thermospheric O(1D) layer was monitored nightly at Asmara, Eritrea (15.4° N, 39.9° E, 7° N dip) with an all-sky imager. Averages of north-south strips of the images enabled contour plots of brightness on a latitude vs. local time grid. The contours show the movement of the intertropical arc southward before midnight, staying just north of Asmara after midnight, and gradually brightening to a maximum at 02:00h local civil time, 02:00 LT, after which it disappears before dawn. It is argued that all features of the plots can be explained by known mechanisms capable of driving ions along magnetic field lines, including the fountain effect, summer to winter transequatorial winds, and the midnight pressure bulge.
The 02:00 LT brightness maximum is the most striking and the most persistent feature in the data. The persistence of the location of the 02:00 LT brightening is attributed to a pressure bulge centered on the geographic equator at midnight and extending to higher latitudes with increasing local time in both the winter and the summer hemispheres. The bulge is shown to be stronger near solstice than near equinox, confirming earlier work.