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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 71, Issue 1–4, pp 329–383 | Cite as

A far ultraviolet imager for the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics Mission

  • M. R. Torr
  • D. G. Torr
  • M. Zukic
  • R. B. Johnson
  • J. Ajello
  • P. Banks
  • K. Clark
  • K. Cole
  • C. Keffer
  • G. Parks
  • B. Tsurutani
  • J. Spann
Article

Abstract

The aurorae are the result of collisions with the atmosphere of energetic particles that have their origin in the solar wind, and reach the atmosphere after having undergone varying degrees of acceleration and redistribution within the Earth's magnetosphere. The global scale phenomenon represented by the aurorae therefore contains considerable information concerning the solar-terrestrial connection. For example, by correctly measuring specific auroral emissions, and with the aid of comprehensive models of the region, we can infer the total energy flux entering the atmosphere and the average energy of the particles causing these emissions. Furthermore, from these auroral emissions we can determine the ionospheric conductances that are part of the closing of the magnetospheric currents through the ionosphere, and from these we can in turn obtain the electric potentials and convective patterns that are an essential element to our understanding of the global magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere-mesosphere. Simultaneously acquired images of the auroral oval and polar cap not only yield the temporal and spatial morphology from which we can infer activity indices, but in conjunction with simultaneous measurements made on spacecraft at other locations within the magnetosphere, allow us to map the various parts of the oval back to their source regions in the magnetosphere. This paper describes the Ultraviolet Imager for the Global Geospace Sciences portion of the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics program. The instrument operates in the far ultraviolet (FUV) and is capable of imaging the auroral oval regardless of whether it is sunlit or in darkness. The instrument has an 8° circular field of view and is located on a despun platform which permits simultaneous imaging of the entire oval for at least 9 hours of every 18 hour orbit. The three mirror, unobscured aperture, optical system (f/2.9) provides excellent imaging over this full field of view, yielding a per pixel angular resolution of 0.6 milliradians. Its FUV filters have been designed to allow accurate spectral separation of the features of interest, thus allowing quantitative interpretation of the images to provide the parameters mentioned above. The system has been designed to provide ten orders of magnitude blocking against longer wavelength (primarily visible) scattered sunlight, thus allowing the first imaging of key, spectrally resolved, FUV diagnostic features in the fully sunlit midday aurorae. The intensified-CCD detector has a nominal frame rate of 37 s, and the fast optical system has a noise equivalent signal within one frame of ∼ 10R. The instantaneous dynamic range is >1000 and can be positioned within an overall gain range of 104, allowing measurement of both the very weak polar cap emissions and the very bright aurora. The optical surfaces have been designed to be sufficiently smooth to permit this dynamic range to be utilized without the scattering of light from bright features into the weaker features. Finally, the data product can only be as good as the degree to which the instrument performance is characterized and calibrated. In the VUV, calibration of an an imager intended for quantitative studies is a task requiring some pioneering methods, but it is now possible to calibrate such an instrument over its focal plane to an accuracy of ±10%. In summary, very recent advances in optical, filter and detector technology have been exploited to produce an auroral imager to meet the ISTP objectives.

Keywords

Solar Wind Auroral Oval Ionospheric Conductance Ultraviolet Imager Auroral Emission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Torr
    • 1
  • D. G. Torr
    • 2
  • M. Zukic
    • 2
  • R. B. Johnson
    • 3
  • J. Ajello
    • 4
  • P. Banks
    • 5
  • K. Clark
    • 6
  • K. Cole
    • 7
  • C. Keffer
    • 2
  • G. Parks
    • 6
  • B. Tsurutani
    • 4
  • J. Spann
    • 8
  1. 1.Payload Projects OfficeMarshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Optical Aeronomy LaboratoryUniversity of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleUSA
  3. 3.Optical E.T.C., Inc.HuntsvilleUSA
  4. 4.JPLPasadenaUSA
  5. 5.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  6. 6.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  7. 7.LaTrobe UniversityLa TrobeAustralia
  8. 8.Space Science LaboratoryMarshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA

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