Remote sensing of the ionospheric F layer by use of O I 6300-Å and O I 1356-Å observations


  • S. Chandra,

  • E. I. Reed,

  • R. R. Meier,

  • C. B. Opal,

  • G. T. Hicks


The possibility of using airglow techniques for estimating the F layer height and electron density is discussed by deriving a simple theoretical relationship between the height of the F2 peak and the column emission rates of the O I 6300-Å and O I 1356-Å lines. The feasibility of this method is demonstrated by presenting numerical calculations of the F2 peak heights and electron densities from the simultaneous measurement of O I 1356 Å and O I 6300 Å obtained from Ogo 4. The heights of the F2 peak estimated from this method are in good agreement with the values estimated from top side and bottom side ionosondes and with ion densities obtained from the retarding potential analyzer on the same spacecraft. The monitoring of these airglow emissions from a satellite therefore offers the possibility of mapping the height and density of the F2 peak over an extended area, a possibility that has been difficult to realize from top side sounders. Since the height of the F2 peak is a very sensitive indicator of the ionospheric motion, such methods can be used in the study of the global wind system.