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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2020-50
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2020-50
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Aug 2020

03 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Observations of sunlit N2+ aurora at high altitudes during the RENU2 flight

Pål Gunnar Ellingsen1, Dag Lorentzen2,3, David Kenward4, Jams H. Hecht5, J. Scott Evans6, Fred Sigernes2,3, and Marc Lessard4 Pål Gunnar Ellingsen et al.
  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, 8505 Narvik, Norway
  • 2Department of Arctic Geophysics, the University Centre in Svalbard, P.O. Box 156, 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
  • 3Birkeland Centre for Space Science, Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
  • 4The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
  • 5Space Science Applications Laboratory, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo CA, USA
  • 6Computational Physics Inc., Springfield, VA, USA

Abstract. We present measurements of sunlit aurora during the launch of the Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling 2 (RENU2) on the 13th of December 2015 at 07:34 UT. The in situ auroral conditions coincide with those of sunlit aurora, and were characterised by the 391.4 nm and 427.8 nm N2+ emissions. A correlation between several auroral wavelengths, as measured by a meridian scanning photometer was used to detect sunlit aurora and indirectly neutral upwelling. These results, based on ground data, agree well with the RENU2 measurements recorded during its pass through the sunlit polar cusp. Using data from RENU2 and the solar photon flux, it was found that sunlit aurora was a major part (≈ 40 %) of the observed 427.8 nm emission.

Pål Gunnar Ellingsen et al.

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Latest update: 27 Sep 2020
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Short summary
Using the RENU2 rocket and ground based instruments, we show that significant parts of the blue aurora above Svalbard at the time of launch was sunlit aurora. Sunlit aurora occurs when nitrogen molecules are ionised by extreme UV sunlight and subsequently hit by electrons from the Sun, resulting in blue/violet emissions. Understanding the source of an auroral emission gives insight into the interaction between the Sun and the Earths upper atmosphere.
Using the RENU2 rocket and ground based instruments, we show that significant parts of the blue...
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