Coordinated Observations of Rocket Exhaust Depletion: GOLD, Madrigal TEC, and Multiple Low-Earth-Orbit Satellites

A plasma density hole was created in the ionosphere by a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida near local sunset on 30 August 2020, which is called rocket exhaust depletion (RED). The hole persisted for several hours into the night and was observed in total electron content (TEC) maps, the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) imager, and multiple low-earth-orbit satellites. The RED created a nightglow pit in the GOLD 135.6 nm image. Swarm satellites found that the RED exhibited insignificant changes in electron/ion temperature and field-aligned currents. On the other hand, magnetic field strength was enhanced inside the RED by a few tenths of a nanotesla. Assimilation data products of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate 2 (COSMIC-2) mission reveal that ionospheric slab thickness increased at the center of the RED, which is supported by combined analyses of the GOLD and TEC data. The RED did not host conspicuous substructures that are stronger and longer-lasting than the ambient plasma did.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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