Measurement of the vertical atmospheric density profile from the X-ray Earth occultation of the Crab Nebula with Insight-HXMT

Abstract
\textlessp\textgreater\textlessstrong class="journal-contentHeaderColor"\textgreaterAbstract.\textless/strong\textgreater X-ray Earth occultation sounding (XEOS) is an emerging method for measuring the neutral density in the lower thermosphere. In this paper, the X-ray Earth occultation (XEO) of the Crab Nebula is investigated using the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (Insight-HXMT). The pointing observation data on the 30 September 2018 recorded by the low-energy X-ray telescope (LE) of Insight-HXMT are selected and analysed. The extinction light curves and spectra during the X-ray Earth occultation process are extracted. A forward model for the XEO light curve is established, and the theoretical observational signal for light curve is predicted. The atmospheric density model is built with a scale factor to the commonly used Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter Radar Extended model (MSIS) density profile within a certain altitude range. A Bayesian data analysis method is developed for the XEO light curve modelling and the atmospheric density retrieval. The posterior probability distribution of the model parameters is derived through the Markov chain–Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm with the NRLMSISE-00 model and the NRLMSIS 2.0 model as basis functions, and the respective best-fit density profiles are retrieved. It is found that in the altitude range of 105–200 km, the retrieved density profile is 88.8 \% of the density of NRLMSISE-00 and 109.7 \% of the density of NRLMSIS 2.0 by fitting the light curve in the energy range of 1.0–2.5 keV based on the XEOS method. In the altitude range of 95–125 km, the retrieved density profile is 81.0 \% of the density of NRLMSISE-00 and 92.3 \% of the density of NRLMSIS 2.0 by fitting the light curve in the energy range of 2.5–6.0 keV based on the XEOS method. In the altitude range of 85–110 km, the retrieved density profile is 87.7 \% of the density of NRLMSISE-00 and 101.4 \% of the density of NRLMSIS 2.0 by fitting the light curve in the energy range of 6.0–10.0 keV based on the XEOS method. Goodness-of-fit testing is carried out for the validation of the results. The measurements of density profiles are compared to the NRLMSISE-00 and NRLMSIS 2.0 model simulations and the previous retrieval results with NASA s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellite. For further confirmation, we also compare the measured density profile to the ones by a standard spectrum retrieval method with an iterative inversion technique. Finally, we find that the retrieved density profile from Insight-HXMT based on the NRLMSISE-00 and NRLMSIS 2.0 models is qualitatively consistent with the previous retrieved results from RXTE. The results of light curve fitting and standard energy spectrum fitting are in good agreement. This research provides a method for the evaluation of the density profiles from MSIS model predictions. This study demonstrates that the XEOS from the X-ray astronomical satellite Insight-HXMT can provide an approach for the study of the upper atmosphere. The Insight-HXMT satellite can join the family of the XEOS. The Insight-HXMT satellite with other X-ray astronomical satellites in orbit can form a space observation network for XEOS in the future.\textless/p\textgreater
Year of Publication
2022
Journal
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
Volume
15
Number of Pages
3141-3159
Date Published
may
ISSN Number
1867-1381
URL
https://amt.copernicus.org/articles/15/3141/2022/
DOI
10.5194/amt-15-3141-2022