Comparing Atomic Oxygen Emission Observed by GOLD with Ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC)

  • Released Monday, August 30th, 2021
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:43PM
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At 23:00UTC on November 19, 2018, we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) closely aligned with the maxima of OI 135.6nm emission (black dots)

At 23:00UTC on November 19, 2018, we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) closely aligned with the maxima of OI 135.6nm emission (black dots)

Here we compare the enhanced ionospheric emission by atomic oxygen (OI at 135.6nm) observed by the GOLD instrument (right panel) with measured total electron content (TEC, Wikipedia) measured through the NAVSTAR GPS system (left panel).

The oxygen emission and TEC are both enhanced in two bands known as the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) or Appleton anomaly, that straddle Earth's geomagnetic equator. The Appleton anomaly is formed by a process known as the Equatorial Fountain.

This visualization illustrates the motion of these bands on a global scale over a time scale of a few hours, a capability not available until the GOLD mission.

At 23:150UTC we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) and OI 135.6nm emission (black dots) have shifted slightly southward, but still closely aligned.

At 23:150UTC we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) and OI 135.6nm emission (black dots) have shifted slightly southward, but still closely aligned.

By 23:25UTC we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) have shifted northward, while the maxima of OI 135.6nm emission (black dots) has moved southward.  They are no longer well aligned.

By 23:25UTC we see the maxima of TEC values (red dots) have shifted northward, while the maxima of OI 135.6nm emission (black dots) has moved southward. They are no longer well aligned.

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