Observation of equatorial plasma bubbles by the airglow imager on ISS-IMAP


Using 630 nm airglow data observed by an airglow imager on the International Space Station (ISS), the occurrence of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) is studied. In order to examine the physical mechanisms in the boundary region between the Earth and the outer space, an ionosphere, mesosphere, upper atmosphere, and plasmasphere mapping (IMAP) mission had been conducted onboard the ISS since October 2012. The visible light and infrared spectrum imager (VISI) is utilized in the ISS-IMAP mission for nadir-looking observation of the earth\textquoterights atmospheric airglow. In this study, we automatically select EPBs according to the criterion for extracting the tilted dark lines from VISI data. Using the selected events, the dependence of the occurrence rate of EPBs is examined. There is no other report of the occurrence rate of EPBs using downward-looking visible airglow data (630 nm). In this result, the occurrence rate is high at all longitudes in the equinoctial seasons. In the solstice seasons, in contrast, the occurrence rate is very small especially in the Pacific and American sectors. This result is basically consistent with previous studies, e.g., those determined by plasma density data on DMSP satellites.During the June solstice in 2013, EPBs were observed in association with geomagnetic storms that occurred due to a southward turning of the IMF Bz. Using these events, we examined the storm-time features of the occurrence of EPBs in the Pacific-American sectors during the June solstice. In these sectors, where the occurrence rate of EPBs is very small during solstice seasons, some EPBs were observed in the peak and recovery phases of the storms. This result shows that the prompt penetration of electric fields causes the development of EPBs, in the data we analyzed, the geomagnetic storms did not inhibit the generation of EPB in the Pacific\textendashAmerican sectors.

Year of Publication
Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
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