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Proceedings Paper

Low-cost multi-band ground-based imaging of the aurora
Author(s): Mikko T. Syrjasuo; Brian J. Jackel; Eric F. Donovan; Trond S. Trondsen; Mike Greffen
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Paper Abstract

Modern auroral research uses a variety of optical instruments ranging from photometers to spectral imagers. We report our results in developing an inexpensive auroral imager, which captures true-colour images using four wide-band channels. While not replacing dedicated highly sensitive cameras with filter wheels and narrow bandpass filters, the advantages of capturing the colour should not be underestimated. The colour not only provides more information about the physical processes in the ionosphere but also enhances both manual and automated image processing due to the discriminating power of colour information. We have operated our auroral imager RAINBOW in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada for over a year. RAINBOW can acquire images every ten seconds and operate even in moonlit conditions. A clever design using inexpensive optical components provides a field-of-view of approximately 150 degrees, and an external shutter provides protection from direct sunlight. We discuss the issues related to imager hardware and colour calibration. Future applications are also highlighted.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 August 2005
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5901, Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation, 59010F (18 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.617801
Show Author Affiliations
Mikko T. Syrjasuo, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Brian J. Jackel, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Eric F. Donovan, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Trond S. Trondsen, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)
Mike Greffen, Univ. of Calgary (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5901:
Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation
Silvano Fineschi; Rodney A. Viereck, Editor(s)

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