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Earth Planets Space, Vol. 58 (No. 9), pp. 1113-1121, 2006

Combined ground-based optical support for the aurora (DELTA) sounding rocket campaign

Eoghan Griffin1, Mike Kosch2,7, Anasuya Aruliah1, Andrew Kavanagh2, Ian McWhirter1, Andrew Senior2, Elaina Ford1, Chris Davis3, Takumi Abe4, Junichi Kurihara4, Kirsti Kauristie5, and Yasunobu Ogawa6

1Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, University College London, 67-73 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EJ, U.K.
2Communication Systems, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4WA, U.K.
3Space Science Department, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxford OX11 0QX, U.K.
4Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan
5Finnish Meteorological Institute, P. O. Box 503, FIN-00101, Helsinki, Finland
6Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
7Honorary Research Fellow, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa

(Received September 29, 2005; Revised March 25, 2006; Accepted April 12, 2006; Online published September 29, 2006)

Abstract: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) DELTA rocket experiment, successfully launched from Andøya at 0033 UT on December 13, 2004, supported by ground based optical instruments, primarily 2 Fabry-Perot Interferometers (FPIs) located at Skibotn, Norway (69.3°N, 20.4°E) and the KEOPS Site, Esrange, Kiruna, Sweden (67.8°N, 20.4°E). Both these instruments sampled the 557.7 nm lower thermosphere atomic oxygen emission and provided neutral temperatures and line-of-sight wind velocities, with deduced vector wind patterns over each site. All sky cameras allow contextual auroral information to be acquired. The proximity of the sites provided overlapping fields of view, adjacent to the trajectory of the DELTA rocket. This allowed independent verification of the absolute temperatures in the relatively quiet conditions early in the night, especially important given the context provided by co-located EISCAT ion temperature measurements which allow investigation of the likely emission altitude of the passive FPI measurements. The results demonstrate that this altitude changes from 120 km pre-midnight to 115 km post-midnight. Within this large scale context the results from the FPIs also demonstrate smaller scale structure in neutral temperatures, winds and intensities consistent with localised heating. These results present a challenge to the representation of thermospheric variability for the existing models of the region.
Key words: Polar aeronomy, lower thermosphere, Fabry-Perot Interferometer.


Corresponding author E-mail: eoghan@apl.ucl.ac.uk


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