The Michelson Interferometer for Global High-Resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI): Design and Performance Prediction of the Wind and Temperature Instrument on the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Christoph R Englert1, John Harlander2, Charles M Brown1, Andrew W Stephan1, Jonathan J Makela3, Brian Joseph Harding3, Michael H Stevens1, Kenneth D Marr1 and Thomas J Immel4, (1)Naval Research Lab DC, Space Science Division, Washington, DC, United States, (2)SCSU, St Cloud, MN, United States, (3)University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, United States, (4)Univ of California, Berkeley, CA, United States
The Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) is one of four instruments on the NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). MIGHTI will measure the global distribution of horizontal, neutral winds and temperatures over an altitude range that is not readily accessible to in-situ probes (90-300km).

Thermospheric winds will be obtained from Doppler shift measurements of the atomic oxygen green (λ=557.7nm) and red (λ=630.0nm) emission lines. Lower thermospheric temperatures will be determined from the spectral shape of the molecular oxygen atmospheric emission band around λ=762nm.

Two identical MIGHTI interferometers, oriented on the spacecraft to view a common atmospheric volume, obtain orthogonal line of sight wind information. Both instruments use the Doppler Asymmetric Spatial Heterodyne (DASH) approach with low order Echelle gratings optimized for the red, green, and near infrared wavelengths detected by MIGHTI.

We will present the MIGHTI instrument design, including the driving instrument parameters and performance estimates. In particular, we will show the MIGHTI interferometer design and first laboratory test results using a prototype interferometer.