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Geophysical Research Letters

Eiscat radar observations of enhanced incoherent scatter spectra; Their relation to red aurora and field-aligned currents

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Abstract

Enhancements of one, or both, of the ion-acoustic peaks of incoherent scatter spectra in the auroral ionosphere have been observed with the EISCAT UHF and VHF radars. All occurrences for which optical data are available show these events to coincide with active, unusually intense, red auroral forms in the vicinity of the radar beam at high altitudes. Both the optical and the radar signatures are expected to be caused by large fluxes of low energy electrons. Analyses of the measured spectra, in which the electron drift speed is estimated, imply field-aligned current densities up to several mA m−2. The vertically-directed VHF observations from ∼1000 km altitude reveal that the spectral enhancements, which are transient features in field-aligned measurements, can exist for up to several minutes.

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