Global UltraViolet Imager

The Universal Time Variations of the Intensity of Afternoon Aurora in Equinoctial Seasons

The afternoon auroral emissions are investigated in the equinoxes for geomagnetically quiet conditions (Kp = 1) using auroral images from ultraviolet imager (UVI) aboard the Polar satellite. They are compared with solar illumination effects (the solar zenith angle [SZA] and the consequent ionospheric conductivity) and the dipole tilt angle, as well as the observational region 1 upward field-aligned currents (FACs) from AMPERE data. The averaged afternoon auroral emissions have pronounced universal time (UT) variations with valley (2.8 photons/cm2/s) at around 01:00–03:00 UT and peak (4.7 photons/cm2/s) at around 17:00–19:00 UT. They generally vary with the solar illumination, the dipole tilt angle and the observed region 1 upward FACs as a function of UT. The afternoon auroral intensity is anticorrelated with the SZA and positively proportional to the solar EUV-produced Pedersen conductivity, region 1 upward FACs and dipole tilt angle. Additionally, they depend weakly on solar flux under geomagnetically quiet conditions. These results suggest that in the afternoon auroral region, the peak auroral emissions are closely associated with the peak conductivity and the maximum upward FACs. Other mechanisms, such as the dipole tilt angle, may also contribute. Further comparison between the northern afternoon aurora and the FACs in the two conjugate hemispheres suggests little contributions on the auroral UT variations from the interhemispheric FACs in the equinoxes.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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