Articles | Volume 23, issue 5
27 Jul 2005
 | 27 Jul 2005

Artificial optical emissions at HAARP for pump frequencies near the third and second electron gyro-harmonic

M. J. Kosch, T. Pedersen, J. Hughes, R. Marshall, E. Gerken, A. Senior, D. Sentman, M. McCarrick, and F. T. Djuth

Abstract. High-power high-frequency radio waves beamed into the ionosphere cause plasma turbulence, which can accelerate electrons. These electrons collide with the F-layer neutral oxygen causing artificial optical emissions identical to natural aurora. Pumping at electron gyro-harmonic frequencies has special significance as many phenomena change their character. In particular, artificial optical emissions become strongly reduced for the third and higher gyro-harmonics. The High frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility is unique in that it can select a frequency near the second gyro-harmonic. On 25 February 2004, HAARP was operated near the third and passed through the second gyro-harmonic for the first time in a weakening ionosphere. Two novel observations are: firstly, a strong enhancement of the artificial optical emission intensity near the second gyro-harmonic, which is opposite to higher gyro-harmonics; secondly, the optical enhancement maximum occurs for frequencies just above the second gyro-harmonic. We provide the first experimental evidence for these effects, which have been predicted theoretically. In addition, irregular optical structures were created when the pump frequency was above the ionospheric critical frequency.

Keywords. Active experiments – Auroral ionosphere – Wave-particle interactions