Periodic auroral events at the high-latitude convection reversal in the 16 MLT region
Sandholt, P. E. and Lockwood, M. (1990) Periodic auroral events at the high-latitude convection reversal in the 16 MLT region. Geophysical Research Letters, 17 (11). pp. 1877-1880. ISSN 0094-8276
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/GL017i011p01877
Combined optical and radar observations of two breakup-like auroral events near the polar cap boundary, within 74–76° MLAT and 1210 – 1240 UT (roughly 1540 – 1610 MLT) on 9 Jan. 1989 are reported. A two-component structure of the auroral phenomenon is indicated, with a local intensification of the pre-existing arc as well as a separate, tailward moving discrete auroral event on the poleward side of the background aurora, close to the reversal between well-defined zones of sunward and tailward ion flows. The all-sky TV observations do not indicate a connection between the two components, which also show different optical spectral composition. The 16 MLT background arc is located on sunward convecting field lines, as opposed to the 12–14 MLT auroral emission observed on this day. Although the magnetospheric plasma source (s) of the 16 MLT events are not easily identified from these ground-based data alone, it is suggested that the lower and higher latitude components, may map to the plasma sheet boundary layer and along open field lines to the magnetopause boundary, respectively. The events occur at the time of enhancements of westward ionospheric ion flow and corresponding eastward electrojet current south of 74° MLAT. Thus, they seem to be very significant events, involving periodic (10 min period), tailward moving filaments of field-aligned current/discrete auroral emission at the 16 MLT polar cap boundary.