Correlating DMSP and NOAA Ion Precipitation Observations with Low Altitude ENA Emissions During the Declining Phase of Solar Cycle 23
Abstract:Plasma sheet particles with sufficiently low mirror points will interact with thermospheric neutrals through charge exchange. The resulting ENAs are no longer magnetically bound and can therefore be detected by remote platforms outside the ionosphere/lower atmosphere. These ENAs closely associated with ion precipitation are termed Low Altitude Emissions (LAEs). They are non-isotropic in velocity space and mimic the corresponding ion pitch angle distribution.
In this study we present a statistical correlation between remote observations of the LAE emission characteristics and ion precipitation maps determined in situ over the declining phase of solar cycle 23 (2000-2005). We discuss the strength and derived location (MLT, iMLAT) of LAEs as a function of geomagnetic activity levels in relation to the simultaneously measured strength, location, and spectral characteristics of in situ ion precipitation. These comparisons may allow us to use ENA images to assess where and how much energy is deposited during any type of enhanced geomagnetic activity.
The precipitating ion differential directional flux maps are built up from combining NOAA–14/15/16 TED and DMSP–13/14/15 SSJ4 data. Low altitude ENA source locations are identified algorithmically using IMAGE/MENA images. ENA flux maps are derived by computing the LAE source locations assuming an ENA emission altitude (h) of 650 km, then projecting each image pixel onto a sphere with radius Re+h to determine the local time and latitude extent of the ENA source. The IGRF magnetic field model is used in combination with the Solar Magnetic coordinates of LAE pixels to compute the pitch angle of the escaping neutrals (previously ion before charge exchanging). Pitch angles larger than 90° will have a mirror point further into the atmosphere than the assumed emission altitude.