Articles | Volume 25, issue 3
29 Mar 2007
 | 29 Mar 2007

On the location and structure of the artificial 630-nm airglow patch over Sura facility

S. M. Grach, M. J. Kosch, V. A. Yashnov, E. N. Sergeev, M. A. Atroshenko, and P. V. Kotov

Abstract. Results are presented of the artificial optical emission of the atomic oxygen red line (the radiation of level O(1D) with a wavelength of 630 nm) from the HF-pumped ionosphere, obtained in September 2004 at the SURA heating facility situated near Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. For vertical pumping the airglow patch was increasingly displaced to the north, up to 7–8°, with increasing reflection altitude. For large brightness of the emission, the airglow patch started to develop at the northern edge of the pump beam and later expanded to the south. These effects are attributed to the precipitation of supra-thermal electrons from the pump wave upper hybrid resonance altitude to lower altitudes where excitation of the O(1D) level is more effective due to the larger density of atomic oxygen, and the O(1D) lifetime is shorter. For a pump beam inclination of 12° to the south, the optical spot was displaced by 4–5° to the south relative to the straight-line projection of the pump beam onto the sky. This exceeds that expected from the ray tracing and may be related, most probably, to the so-called "magnetic zenith" effect. In addition, mid-scale (1–10 km) magnetic field-aligned structures were observed in the pumped volume of the ionosphere. The east-west motions of the airglow patches are also analyzed.