Geophysical Research Letters

First satellite-imaging observation of medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances by FORMOSAT-2/ISUAL



On the night of May 16, 2007, a satellite limb imager of FORMOSAT-2/ISUAL observed wave-like structures of the 630-nm airglow simultaneously with an all-sky imager deployed at Darwin in Australia. The height of the airglow layer was estimated as 220 km, and the structures were aligned in the northeast-southwest orientation with a wavelength of ∼300 km and propagated toward the northwest with a phase velocity of ∼100 m s−1, showing typical characteristics of the nighttime medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs). We conclude that ISUAL for the first time succeeded in observing the airglow layer altitude and airglow structures modulated by MSTID from space. Such a satellite limb airglow imaging could be a new tool to characterize ionospheric irregularities on a global level.