Space Science Reviews

, 214:4 | Cite as

Retrieval of Lower Thermospheric Temperatures from O2 A Band Emission: The MIGHTI Experiment on ICON

  • Michael H. StevensEmail author
  • Christoph R. Englert
  • John M. Harlander
  • Scott L. England
  • Kenneth D. Marr
  • Charles M. Brown
  • Thomas J. Immel
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission


The Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) is a satellite experiment scheduled to launch on NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) in 2018. MIGHTI is designed to measure horizontal neutral winds and neutral temperatures in the terrestrial thermosphere. Temperatures will be inferred by imaging the molecular oxygen Atmospheric band (A band) on the limb in the lower thermosphere. MIGHTI will measure the spectral shape of the A band using discrete wavelength channels to infer the ambient temperature from the rotational envelope of the band. Here we present simulated temperature retrievals based on the as-built characteristics of the instrument and the expected emission rate profile of the A band for typical daytime and nighttime conditions. We find that for a spherically symmetric atmosphere, the measurement precision is 1 K between 90–105 km during the daytime whereas during the nighttime it increases from 1 K at 90 km to 3 K at 105 km. We also find that the accuracy is 2 K to 11 K for the same altitudes. The expected MIGHTI temperature precision is within the measurement requirements for the ICON mission.



ICON is supported by NASA’s Explorers Program through contracts NNG12FA45C and NNG12FA421.


  1. H.D. Babcock, L. Herzberg, Astrophys. J. 108, 167 (1948) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. A. Berk et al., Proc. SPIE 6233, 623331F (2006) Google Scholar
  3. G. Brasseur, S. Solomon, Aeronomy of the Middle Atmosphere, 2nd edn. (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1986), p. 107 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. A.L. Broadfoot et al., J. Geophys. Res. 102, 11567 (1997) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. A. Bucholtz et al., Planet. Space Sci. 34, 1031 (1986) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. A.B. Christensen et al., J. Geophys. Res. (2012). doi: 10.1029/2011JA016838 Google Scholar
  7. A.B. Christensen et al., J. Geophys. Res. (2013). doi: 10.1002/jgra.50317 Google Scholar
  8. S.L. England et al., Earth Planets Space 61, 493 (2009) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. C.R. Englert et al., Space Sci. Rev. (2017). doi: 10.1007/s11214-017-0358-4 Google Scholar
  10. T.J. Immel et al., Space Sci. Rev. (2017, in press) Google Scholar
  11. G. Liu, Ph.D. Dissertation, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2006) Google Scholar
  12. J.F. Noxon, Space Sci. Rev. 8, 92 (1968) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. J.M. Picone et al., J. Geophys. Res. (2002). doi: 10.1029/2002JA009430 Google Scholar
  14. K.J. Ritter, T.D. Wilkerson, J. Mol. Spectrosc. 121, 1 (1987) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. R.G. Roble, in STEP Handbook on Ionospheric Models, ed. by R. Schunk (Utah State University, Logan, 1996), p. 281 Google Scholar
  16. R.G. Roble, E.C. Ridley, Geophys. Res. Lett. (1994). doi: 10.1029/93GL03391 Google Scholar
  17. L.S. Rothman et al., J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 130, 4 (2013) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. P.E. Sheese et al., Can. J. Phys. 88, 919 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. W.R. Skinner, P.B. Hays, Appl. Opt. 25, 4272 (1985) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. T.G. Slanger et al., J. Geophys. Res. 122, 3640 (2017). doi: 10.1002/2016JA023502 Google Scholar
  21. D.W. Tarasick, W.F.J. Evans, Adv. Space Res. 13, 145 (1993) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. A. Vallance Jones, Aurora. Geophys. and Astrophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 9 (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1974) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. J.-H. Yee et al., Can. J. Phys. 90, 769 (2012) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael H. Stevens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christoph R. Englert
    • 1
  • John M. Harlander
    • 2
  • Scott L. England
    • 3
  • Kenneth D. Marr
    • 1
  • Charles M. Brown
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Immel
    • 4
  1. 1.U.S. Naval Research LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Space Systems Research CorporationAlexandriaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Aerospace and Ocean EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  4. 4.Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of California—BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations