12 Nov 2021
12 Nov 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Are drivers of northern lights in the ionosphere?

Osuke Saka Osuke Saka
  • Office Geophysik, Ogoori, 838-0141, Japan

Abstract. Known as northern lights, auroral spirals are distinct features of substorm auroras composed of large-scale spirals (100s km Surges) mixed with smaller scale ones (10s km Folds, and 1 km Rays). Spiral patterns are generally interpreted in terms of the field line mapping of the upward field-aligned currents produced in the magnetosphere during the field line dipolarization. The field line mapping results in opposing spiral rotations of small- and large-scale auroras. Because of a rotational symmetry deformation and similarity in deformation speeds (6~8 km/s) of small- and large-scale spirals, it has been suggested that common physical processes may underlie the deforming processes. Internal processes in the polar ionosphere (ionospheric driver) will be proposed as the general dynamic for spiral auroras. The ionospheric driver rotated in the ionosphere to produce spirals that characteristically differ from the field line mapping scenario.

Osuke Saka

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on angeo-2021-66', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Jan 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Osuke Saka, 27 Jan 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on angeo-2021-66', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Jan 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Osuke Saka, 27 Jan 2022

Osuke Saka

Osuke Saka


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Short summary
Auroral spirals known as northern lights are a spectacular light show in the polar night sky. We show that auroral spirals are produced in the polar ionosphere by the internal processes that ensure quasi-neutral equilibrium of the polar ionosphere which is often violated during field line dipolarization. The internal driver produces spiral auroras in a manner different from the field line mapping scenario.