Distribution of Aurora and Ionospheric Currents Observed Simultaneously on a Global Scale

  1. Thomas A. Potemra
  1. J. D. Craven1,
  2. Y. Kamide2,
  3. L. A. Frank1,
  4. S.-I. Akasofu3 and
  5. M. Sugiura4

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM028p0137

Magnetospheric Currents

Magnetospheric Currents

How to Cite

Craven, J. D., Kamide, Y., Frank, L. A., Akasofu, S.-I. and Sugiura, M. (1984) Distribution of Aurora and Ionospheric Currents Observed Simultaneously on a Global Scale, in Magnetospheric Currents (ed T. A. Potemra), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM028p0137

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Physics and Astronomy, the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

  2. 2

    Kyoto Sangyo University, Kamigamo, Kita-Ku Kyoto 603, Japan

  3. 3

    Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701

  4. 4

    Laboratory For Extraterrestrial Physics, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900551

Online ISBN: 9781118664131



  • Magnetospheric currents—Congresses;
  • Plasma instabilities—Congresses


The instantaneous spatial distribution of auroral emissions is observed with auroral imaging photometers on board the spacecraft Dynamics Explorer 1 (DE 1) as ground-based meridian chains of magnetometers simultaneously detect the magnetic signatures of ionospheric and field-aligned currents flowing at northern polar latitudes. Ionospheric conductivities at nighttime auroral latitudes are estimated from the measured auroral luminosities and used with the measured polar magnetic variations to compute model distributions of ionospheric and field-aligned currents. Temporal resolution for the coordinated observations and model calculations is 12 minutes. Model ionospheric and field-aligned current distributions are overlayed on global auroral images to illustrate spatial relations on a global scale at the maximum epoch of an auroral substorm. Eccentric-dipole-latitude and magnetic-local-time coordinates are used. A model field-aligned current distribution is compared quantitatively with the distribution of field-aligned currents inferred from simultaneous observations by the DE-2 magnetometer.