Articles | Volume 33, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 33, 129–135, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-129-2015
Ann. Geophys., 33, 129–135, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-129-2015

Regular paper 28 Jan 2015

Regular paper | 28 Jan 2015

Three-dimensional morphology of equatorial plasma bubbles deduced from measurements onboard CHAMP

J. Park1,*, H. Lühr1, and M. Noja2 J. Park et al.
  • 1GFZ, German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Tomtom Telematics, Berlin, Germany
  • *now at: Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Daejeon, South Korea

Abstract. Total electron content (TEC) between Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites can be used to constrain the three-dimensional morphology of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs). In this study we investigate TEC measured onboard the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) from 2001 to 2005. We only use TEC data obtained when CHAMP passed through EPBs: that is, when in situ plasma density measurements at CHAMP altitude also show EPB signatures. The observed TEC gradient along the CHAMP track is strongest when the corresponding GNSS satellite is located equatorward and westward of CHAMP with elevation angles of about 40–60°. These elevation and azimuth angles are in agreement with the angles expected from the morphology of the plasma depletion shell proposed by Kil et al.(2009).

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Short summary
Total electron content (TEC) between low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites can be used to constrain three-dimensional morphology of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs). TEC gradient observed along the LEO track is strongest when the corresponding GNSS satellite is located equatorward and westward of the LEO satellite. This anisotropy supports the idea that EPBs have three-dimensional shell structures.