Localized aurora beyond the auroral oval

Authors


Abstract

[1] Aurora is the result of the interaction between precipitating energetic electrons and protons with the upper atmosphere. Viewed from space, it generally occurs in continuous and diffuse ovals of light around the geomagnetic poles. Additionally, there are localized regions of aurora that are unrelated to the ovals and exhibit different morphological, spatial, and temporal properties. Some of these localized aurorae are detached from the oval poleward or equatorward of it. Others are located within the oval and are brighter than the surrounding diffuse aurora. Many of them occur only during preferred solar wind conditions and orientations of the interplanetary magnetic field. This review describes the different localized aurorae and their particle sources in the plasma sheet, at the plasmapause, or at the magnetopause. Their origin is still not completely understood, and the study of aurorae can teach a great deal about their underlying physical processes of reconnection, electrostatic acceleration, or wave-particle interactions.

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