The first coordinated ground- and space-based optical observations of equatorial plasma bubbles

Abstract
<p>We report on ionospheric optical emissions detected by the GUVI instrument on the TIMED satellite. As the satellite crosses the equatorial zone the bright Appleton Anomaly region is imaged. Often these bright zones are interrupted by regions slanted from west to east as the equator is approached forming a backwards \textquoteleftC\textquoteright-shape in the image. To explain this feature we use simultaneous ground-based observations looking equatorward from Hawaii using the 777.4-nm emission. We also compare these optical observations to inverted electron density maps, as well as to those made by radar and to numerical simulations of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The characteristic shape is a result of a shear in the eastward plasma flow velocity, which peaks near the <em>F</em> peak at the equator and decreases both above and below that height. The ability to detect these unstable and usually turbulent ionospheric regions from orbit provides a powerful global remote sensing capability for an important space weather process.</p>
Year of Publication
2003
Journal
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume
30
Date Published
07/2003
ISSN Number
0094-8276
URL
http://doi.wiley.com/10.1029/2003GL017301
DOI
10.1029/2003GL017301