30 September 1994 Mg+ and other metallic emissions observed in the thermosphere
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Abstract
Limb observations of UV dayglow emissions from 80 to 300 km tangent heights were made in December 1992 using the GLO instrument, which flew on STS-53 as a Hitchhiker-G experiment. STS-53 was at 330 km altitude and had an orbit inclination of 57 degree(s). The orbit placed the shuttle near the terminator for the entire mission, resulting in a unique set of observations. The GLO instrument consisted of 12 imagers and 9 spectrographs on an Az/El gimbal system. The data was obtained over 6 days of the mission. Emissions from Mg+ and Ca+ were observed, as were emissions from the neutral metallic species Mg and Na. The ultimate source of the metals is ablation of meteors; however, the spatial distribution of the emissions is controlled by upper mesospheric and thermospheric winds and, in the case of the ions, by the electromagnetic fields of the ionosphere. The observed Mg+ emission was the brightest of the metal emissions, and was observed near the poles and around the geomagnetic equator near sunset. The polar emissions were short-lived and intense, indicative of auroral activity. The equatorial emissions were more continuous, with several luminous patches propagating poleward over the period of several orbits. The instrumentation is described, as are spatial and temporal variations of the metal emissions with emphasis on the metal ions. These observations are compared to previous observations of thermospheric metallic species.
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James A. Gardner, Rodney A. Viereck, Edmond Murad, Shu T. Lai, David J. Knecht, Charles P. Pike, A. Lyle Broadfoot, Emmet R. Anderson, William J. McNeil, "Mg+ and other metallic emissions observed in the thermosphere", Proc. SPIE 2266, Optical Spectroscopic Techniques and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research, (30 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.187562; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.187562
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