We present a technique for retrieving the two-dimensional structure of the ionosphere using the measured variations of ultraviolet emissions produced by radiative recombination at 911 and 1356 Å as measured by satellite-based limb scanning instruments. The algorithm uses an iterative scheme based on discrete inverse theory to determine the best fit to the data. We present the results of a simulation that demonstrates the algorithm's performance for an inversion covering the nighttime half of the orbit. The algorithm was tested using “data” generated with the international reference ionosphere (IRI-90; Bilitza ). The algorithm accurately retrieved the nighttime F region electron density.