Some distinctive features in the behavior of small-scale artificial ionospheric irregularities at mid-and high latitudes
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We present the results of experimental studies of some features in the behavior of small-scale artificial irregularities (SSAIs) at mid-and high latitudes based on the “Sura” and EISCAT/HEATING HF facilities. Observations were performed by the method of aspect scattering using a network of diagnostic paths having a common reception point located near St. Petersburg. We found that an extremely long duration of the second (slow) stage of SSAI relaxation of up to 5 min occurs in the evening hours when the ionosphere above the “Sura” facility is illuminated by the Sun, but the solar terminator travels through the magnetically conjugated ionosphere. The conjecture is made that the processes initiated by the terminator are mostly responsible for secondary ionospheric turbulence maintaining the irregularities above “Sura.” A drastic increase in the Doppler spectra width of the scattered signals is revealed when the magnetically conjugate point of the ionosphere is located on the shade side of the terminator, but the ionosphere above the “Sura” facility is still lighted. It is assumed that the “ run away” of photoelectrons from the day to the night side could reduce the threshold of excitation of artificial irregularities, leading to an increase in their intensity. The presence of fairly intense scattered signals was detected from the “Sura” and EISCAT/HEATING experimental results both under conditions of pulsed HF heating after continuous heater-on periods and cycled HF heating by short pulses. In the case of pulsed heating by short pulses with duration τp < 100 ms and average radiated power Pa below the threshold power Pthr of the SSAI generation cutoff the irregularities can be maintained due only to striction parametric instabilities. The excitation of irregularites under the cycled HF pumping with the pulse duration τp = 384 ms for Pa comparable with Pthr was detected. The aspect-angle dependence, or the so-called magnetic zenith effect, was found in the SSAI intensity. The residual turbulence aftereffects played a significant role in the SSAI development.
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