Observation of the proton aurora with IMAGE FUV imager and simultaneous ion flux in situ measurements
Gérard, J.-C.; Hubert, B.; Meurant, M.; Bisikalo, D.V.; Shematovich, V.I.; Frey, H.; Mende, S.; Gladstone, G..R.; and Carlson, C.W.
Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 106, Issue A12, December 1, 2001, pp. 28939-28948


The far ultraviolet cameras on board the IMAGE satellite images the aurora in three different spectral regions. One of the channels of the spectrographic imager SI12 observes the Doppler-shifted Lyman a emission of precipitating protons. It makes it possible to spectrally discriminate between the proton and electron FUV aurora and to globally map the energetic protons. Its response depends on the auroral Lyman a line shape which reflects the characteristics of the proton pitch angle and energy distributions. We illustrate the dependence of the SI12 count rate on the characteristic energy of the proton precipitation and the viewing geometry. Simultaneous in situ observations of the precipitated protons have been collected during a FAST satellite pass when IMAGE was observing the global north polar region. The premidnight region located at the equatorward boundary of the oval is dominated by proton precipitation with a mean energy E = 7 keV which is separated from the electron component. The prenoon crossing exhibits a softer proton energy spectrum with E = 0.9 keV. The measured proton energy distribution is used as an input to a Monte Carlo model to calculate the expected SI12 signal along the magnetic footprint of the satellite orbit. If the different spatial resolution of the two types of measurements is accounted for, a good quantitative agreement is found with the IMAGE observations. Similarly, ion flux measurements collected on board the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F15 satellite during an overflight in the postmidnight sector provide good agreement with the SI12 observations at the footprint aurora. The comparisons confirm the reliability of the FUV IMAGE cameras to remotely discriminate between the electron and the proton precipitations. The vertical emission rate profiles of the N2 Lyman-Birge-Hopfield and O I (1356 \AA ) emissions are calculated in the proton-dominated premidnight region. It is shown that the protons and the electrons produce FUV emissions with contributions peaking at different altitudes. Excitation by secondary electrons dominates the production of both emissions.