Review of Auroral Particle Precipitation

  1. S.-I. Akasofu and
  2. J.R. Kan
  1. R. L. Arnoldy

Published Online: 26 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM025p0056

Physics of Auroral Arc Formation

Physics of Auroral Arc Formation

How to Cite

Arnoldy, R. L. (1981) Review of Auroral Particle Precipitation, in Physics of Auroral Arc Formation (eds S.-I. Akasofu and J.R. Kan), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM025p0056

Author Information

  1. Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H. 03824

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1981

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900506

Online ISBN: 9781118664360



  • Auroras—Addresses, essays, lectures


Auroral electron and ion precipitation measured by sounding rockets and satellites will be reviewed. The two observing platforms provide a different perspective of the aurora. An attempt will be made to relate the two data sets to establish the precipitation signature of an auroral arc. Energy spectra and pitch angle distributions of precipitating particles have provided the basis for most auroral acceleration mechanisms. The altitude and particle mass dependence of these parameters, as well as their spatial relationship to the visual aurora will be reviewed. Although optical data have shown the fine structure (temporal and spatial) of an arc, improved response of particle detectors is just beginning to reveal this structure in particle precipitation. For example, intense fluxes of field-aligned electrons are often observed having a duration on the order of a second as seen by rocket detectors. Similar field-aligned bursts fluctuate at a few Hertz in satellite data. The intent of this paper is to summarize the observations that may aid in the formulation of an auroral arc theory.