An auroral scintillation observation using precise, collocated GPS receivers



[1] On 10 January 2009, an unusual ionospheric scintillation event was observed by a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver station in Fairbanks, Alaska. The receiver station is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) Monitoring Station Network (MSN). Each MSN station runs two identical geodetic-grade, dual-frequency, full-code tracking GPS receivers that share a common antenna. At the Fairbanks station, a third separate receiver with a separate antenna is located nearby. During the 10 January event, ionospheric conditions caused two of the receivers to loose lock on a single satellite. The third receiver tracked through the scintillation. The region of scintillation was collocated with an auroral arc and a slant total electron content (TEC) increase of 5.71 TECu (TECu = 1016/m2). The response of the full-code tracking receivers to the scintillation is intriguing. One of these receivers lost lock, but the other receiver did not. This fact argues that a receiver's internal state dictates its reaction to scintillation. Additionally, the scintillation only affected the L2 signal. While this causes the L1 signal to be lost on the semicodelessly receiver, the full-code tracking receiver only lost the L1 signal when the receiver attempted to reacquire the satellite link.