Lecturer: Ingrid Sandahl (IRF)
Date: 2007-11-15 10:30
Place: Aniara

Auroral Observations from Space Shuttle Discovery

Prof. Ingrid Sandahl
Swedish Institute of Space Physics
Kiruna, Sweden

During the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 to the International Space Station in December 2006 photographs of the aurora were taken by the Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang. On December 20 photographs were obtained of the aurora over North America between 05:11 and 05:26 UT, over Russia between 15:49 and 15:58 UT and over Scandinavia during two passes, between 18:50 and 18:55 UT and between 20:28 and 20:31 UT. The sun was totally spotless, but still the day was fairly active geomagnetically with Kp of 4, 3, and 5 at the times that the photos were taken. The elevated activity was due to high speed solar wind, 600-725 km/s, coming from a coronal hole. IMF Bz varied strongly between -5 and + 5 nT. The photos over North America were obtained during a small activation after a substorm, the photos over Russia in the trailing edge of a westward traveling surge, and over Scandinavia shortly before a small (-250 nT) breakup at 19.02 UT and during a prolonged activation that occurred after a -700 nT breakup at 19.48 UT. The breakup at 19.48 UT also produced an unusually strong signal in the full latitude range, 68-70 degrees, of the IRIS imaging riometer keogram. In the images from the space shuttle a variety of auroral forms are seen, arcs, large spirals, an extremely regular vortex street, red upper parts, isolated structures with a larger vertical extent than the surrounding aurora, and red lower borders. Simultaneous ground-based auroral images were obtained in northern Scandinavia during the 18:50 to 18:55 UT pass.

Created 2007-10-09 14:42:48 by Mats Holmström
Last changed 2007-10-29 22:31:43 by Mats Holmström