Articles | Volume 23, issue 5
28 Jul 2005
 | 28 Jul 2005

Transpolar aurora: time evolution, associated convection patterns, and a possible cause

L. G. Blomberg, J. A. Cumnock, I. I. Alexeev, E. S. Belenkaya, S. Yu. Bobrovnikov, and V. V. Kalegaev

Abstract. We present two event studies illustrating the detailed relationships between plasma convection, field-aligned currents, and polar auroral emissions, as well as illustrating the influence of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field's y-component on theta aurora development. The transpolar arc of the theta aurorae moves across the entire polar region and becomes part of the opposite side of the auroral oval. Electric and magnetic field and precipitating particle data are provided by DMSP, while the POLAR UVI instrument provides measurements of auroral emissions. Ionospheric electrostatic potential patterns are calculated at different times during the evolution of the theta aurora using the KTH model. These model patterns are compared to the convection predicted by mapping the magnetopause electric field to the ionosphere using the Paraboloid Model of the magnetosphere. The model predicts that parallel electric fields are set up along the magnetic field lines projecting to the transpolar aurora. Their possible role in the acceleration of the auroral electrons is discussed.

Keywords. Ionosphere (Plasma convection; Polar ionosphere) – Magnetospheric physics (Magnetosphereionosphere interactions)