Mass spectrometric measurement of thermospheric wind


  • J. R. Knutson,

  • D. C. Kayser,

  • W. E. Potter


The open source neutral mass spectrometer (OSS) on the Atmosphere Explorer C satellite was periodically operated in an experimental ‘fly-through’ mode. When the satellite is spinning, the signal from this mode displays a sharp maximum that occurs when the instrument source faces directly into the oncoming gas. Thus the location of this maximum is sensitive to neutral wind components in the spin plane. Twenty-two spinning fly-through orbits were analyzed to determine vertical wind magnitudes in the altitude range 160–250 km. Large (up to 65 m/s) magnitudes were detected in the early morning sector of the auroral zone.