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Proceedings Paper

Mg+ and other metallic emissions observed in the thermosphere
Author(s): James A. Gardner; Rodney A. Viereck; Edmond Murad; Shu T. Lai; David J. Knecht; Charles P. Pike; A. Lyle Broadfoot; Emmet R. Anderson; William J. McNeil
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Paper Abstract

Limb observations of UV dayglow emissions from 80 to 300 km tangent heights were made in December 1992 using the GLO instrument, which flew on STS-53 as a Hitchhiker-G experiment. STS-53 was at 330 km altitude and had an orbit inclination of 57 degree(s). The orbit placed the shuttle near the terminator for the entire mission, resulting in a unique set of observations. The GLO instrument consisted of 12 imagers and 9 spectrographs on an Az/El gimbal system. The data was obtained over 6 days of the mission. Emissions from Mg+ and Ca+ were observed, as were emissions from the neutral metallic species Mg and Na. The ultimate source of the metals is ablation of meteors; however, the spatial distribution of the emissions is controlled by upper mesospheric and thermospheric winds and, in the case of the ions, by the electromagnetic fields of the ionosphere. The observed Mg+ emission was the brightest of the metal emissions, and was observed near the poles and around the geomagnetic equator near sunset. The polar emissions were short-lived and intense, indicative of auroral activity. The equatorial emissions were more continuous, with several luminous patches propagating poleward over the period of several orbits. The instrumentation is described, as are spatial and temporal variations of the metal emissions with emphasis on the metal ions. These observations are compared to previous observations of thermospheric metallic species.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 September 1994
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2266, Optical Spectroscopic Techniques and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research, (30 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.187562
Show Author Affiliations
James A. Gardner, PhotoMetrics, Inc. (United States)
Rodney A. Viereck, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Edmond Murad, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Shu T. Lai, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
David J. Knecht, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Charles P. Pike, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
A. Lyle Broadfoot, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Emmet R. Anderson, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
William J. McNeil, Radex, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2266:
Optical Spectroscopic Techniques and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research
Jinxue Wang; Paul B. Hays, Editor(s)

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