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Keywords:

  • SROSS-C2;
  • equatorial irregularities and magnetic storm

[1] The first observation of equatorial ionospheric irregularities by RPA probe of the Indian low Earth orbiting satellite SROSS-C2 is presented in this paper. Amplitude scintillations of medium Earth orbiting Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and geostationary FLEETSATCOM (244 MHz, 73°E) and INMARSAT (1.5 GHz, 65°E) signals recorded simultaneously at Calcutta (lat: 22.97° N, long: 88.50°E geographic; dip: 32°N) are used for a coordinated study of equatorial F region irregularities in the Indian zone. Cases of ionospheric irregularities identified from the SROSS-C2 records obtained during the initial one-and-a-half years since its launch in May 1994 have been analyzed. Some events of in situ ion density irregularities are compared with scintillations simultaneously observed on the transionospheric satellite links. Intense bite-outs of ion density (maximum relative irregularity amplitude ΔN/N ∼ 65%) were detected on one occasion (October 29, 1994) coupled with deep fadings (S4 ∼ 1 at VHF, ∼0.52 at L-band, and ∼0.69 at GPS L1 frequency) on ground-based satellite links. An estimate of scintillation indices from the observed in situ density deviations compares well with the ground-based measurements. The development of intense equatorial bubbles even on a day like October 29, 1994, under low solar activity conditions, may be attributed to a prompt penetration of magnetospheric electric field equatorwards during the main phase of a magnetic storm in progress [maximum negative excursion of Dst ∼ −127 nT at 1600UT (2100MLT) with a dDst/dt rate −37 nT/hr at 1300–1400UT (1800–1900MLT)]. The drift velocity and spatial extent of these irregularities have been estimated from ground-based observations.