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A statistical investigation of polar auroras

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The magnetosphere depends on the astronomical orientation of the geomagnetic field with respect to the solar wind. The statistical distribution of polar auroras must therefore depend on the orientation of the geomagnetic field with respect to the ecliptic plane. We have investigated this peculiar feature of auroras that we call auroral astronomical geometry. We give here some preliminary results concerning a limited set of pre-IGY auroras. The criteria that we have chosen to prepare the auroral collection are also briefly summarized. The results conform to the hypothesis of the auroral origin from the magnetospheric neutral sheet. Auroral particles are found to impinge over the earth with low angles with respect to the ecliptic plane (≦40°). Only in a 4-hours interval around midnight they are found to impinge with angles up to 70°. Definite evidence of these facts requires further investigation with a larger amount of data. — We have also prepared a complex code for recording the morphological features of each aurora, namely: standard information, movement. intensity, color, sunlight illumination, period of pulsation, location in the sky among stars and planets, time evolution, duration and general features of the auroral display. It is well known in fact that the auroral morphology affects auroral heights and latitudes, etc.; presumably it should also affect its astronomical geometry, which we will investigate later.

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Giorgi, M., Gregori, G.P. & Valenti, C. A statistical investigation of polar auroras. PAGEOPH 71, 42–50 (1968).

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  • Time Evolution
  • Solar Wind
  • Statistical Investigation
  • Peculiar Feature
  • Definite Evidence