Direct three-dimensional imaging of polar ionospheric structures with the Resolute Bay Incoherent Scatter Radar



[1] Ionospheric plasma density structures in the dayside F-region of the polar cap are commonly occurring events, but adequate measurements of their formation and evolution have been sparse. With the advent of the advanced modular incoherent scatter radar RISR-N (Resolute Bay Incoherent Scatter Radar) it is now possible for the first time to study the temporal evolution of the plasma properties in the polar cap region in three dimensions, with a spatial resolution of tens of kilometers, from which the plasma rest frame can be experimentally established. We demonstrate the strength of the diagnostic with observations from an event of enhanced plasma density observed over Resolute Bay in December 2009. A colocated all-sky imager showed faint 630.0 and 557.7 nm emission corresponding to the plasma enhancements, and the structures could be traced back to a formation region in the open/closed field line boundary. This new plasma imaging technique will provide important information on the mechanisms controlling the structuring in the high latitude ionosphere.