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Proceedings Paper

Auroral x-ray imaging from high- and low-Earth orbit
Author(s): David L. McKenzie; David J. Gorney; William L. Imhof
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Paper Abstract

Observations of bremsstrahlung X rays emitted by energetic electrons impacting the earth's atmosphere can be used for remotely sensing the morphology, intensity, and energy spectra of electron precipitation from the magnetosphere. The utility of the technique derives from the broad energy range of observable X rays (2 to greater than 100 keY), the simple emission process, the large x-ray mean free path in the atmosphere, and negligible background. Two auroral X-ray imagers, developed for future spaceflight, will be discussed. PIXIE (Polar Ionospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment) is scheduled for launch on the NASA International Solar-Terrestrial Physics/Global Geospace Science program POLAR satellite in May, 1994. The POLAR orbit, with an apogee and perigee of 9 and 1 .8 RE (earth radii), respectively, affords the opportunity to image the aurora from high altitude above the north pole continuously for several hours. MAXIE (Magnetospheric Atmospheric X-ray Imaging Experiment) is scheduled for launch aboard the NOAA-I satellite in late 1992. The 800-km polar orbit passes over both the northern and southern aurora! zones every 101 minutes. The presentation emphasizes the experimental approaches used to exploit these very different orbits for remote sensing of the earth's aurora! zones.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 June 1992
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 1745, Instrumentation for Planetary and Terrestrial Atmospheric Remote Sensing, (29 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.60598
Show Author Affiliations
David L. McKenzie, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
David J. Gorney, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
William L. Imhof, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1745:
Instrumentation for Planetary and Terrestrial Atmospheric Remote Sensing
Supriya Chakrabarti; Andrew B. Christensen, Editor(s)

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