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Electric field measurements in the auroral E region


  • H. P. Mahon,

  • M. Smiddy,

  • R. C. Sagalyn


Dipole electric field, positive ion and electron densities and temperatures, vehicle potential, and plasma sheath measurements have been made in the auroral E region by means of rockets flown from Fort Churchill, Canada. These results are described and compared over the altitude region 100 to 165 km. On a rocket flight launched on 10 December 1969 during very quiet conditions, adjacent to a stable, low intensity auroral arc, the plasma density and temperatures are found to be high and the electric fields large and steady. Electric field components of the order of −17 mv m−1 to +6 mv m−1 were measured along the Earth's magnetic field. The plasma results indicate that these fields may be contributing to enhanced electron temperatures. On a flight of 9 March 1970 during a large magnetic storm with widespread auroral activity, lower plasma densities and temperatures and much smaller and more erratic electric fields were observed with no significant component parallel to the magnetic field.

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