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Proceedings Paper

Imaging of x rays for magnetospheric investigations
Author(s): William L. Imhof; Henry D. Voss; Dayton W. Datlowe
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Paper Abstract

Precipitation of energetic electrons from the magnetosphere into the auroral zone produces x- ray bremsstrahlung. Although in-situ electron spectrometers can provide detailed information at the point of observation, only x-ray imagers can provide large scale maps of the 1 to 300 keV energy electron precipitation. X-ray imaging provides complete day and night coverage of the electron energy spectra at each position. Early x-ray images, such as those obtained from 1979 - 1983, served to demonstrate the importance of narrow elongated arcs of energetic electron precipitation in the auroral zone. They also characterized the spectral parameters and precipitation rates required for understanding source and loss mechanisms in the magnetosphere, but they were limited in field of view and to one map for each pass over the emitting regions. The Magnetospheric Atmospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment (MAXIE), soon to be launched on a TIROS satellite, will make time-space mappings by scanning a 16 pixel pinhole camera. These data will distinguish intensity variations of a fixed auroral feature from motion of a steadily radiating features. However, the spatial deconvolution is complex and features stay in the field of view for only approximately 10 minutes. These problems will be resolved by a high altitude (approximately 9 Re) imaging spectrometer PIXIE on the ISTP/GGS Polar Satellite to be launched in 1994. PIXIE's position sensitive proportional counter will continuously image the entire auroral zone for periods of hours. The resulting images will be important for understanding how the electrons are accelerated in the magnetosphere and why and where they precipitate into the atmosphere. Future needs and plans for next generation imagers will be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1992
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1744, Instrumentation for Magnetospheric Imagery, (1 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.60593
Show Author Affiliations
William L. Imhof, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Lab. (United States)
Henry D. Voss, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Lab. (United States)
Dayton W. Datlowe, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1744:
Instrumentation for Magnetospheric Imagery
Supriya Chakrabarti, Editor(s)

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