Journal of Geophysical Research

Determination of F region height and peak electron density at night using airglow emissions from atomic oxygen


  • Brian A. Tinsley,

  • José A. Bittencourt


Measurements of the vertical column emission rates of atomic oxygen emissions arising from radiative recombination, ion-ion recombination, and dissociative recombination in the nighttime F region are sufficient to remotely sense the F layer height and peak plasma density. For example, measurements can be made of O I 1356 Å and [O I] 6300 Å, with vertical column emission rates J1356 and J6300. To a very good approximation the peak electron density is proportional to (J1356)1/2, and second-order dependence on height and exospheric temperature is very small. To a good approximation the ratio (J1356)1/2/J6300 is a single-valued function of the layer height.