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Imaging Mesospheric Gravity Waves Under Adverse Lighting Conditions

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Digital (CCD) imaging systems are regularly used to study gravity wave properties in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) region (~80-100 km) using well-defined nighttime airglow emission layers (e.g. Bear Lake Observatory [BLO, UT]) to maximize data quality. Moonlight and other sources of light pollution (e.g. aurora, street lights, etc.) can significantly limit the use of CCD imagers which are sensitive to light in the visible and near-infrared spectral range (< 1 µm). Here we investigate the use of new infrared imaging systems to mitigate problems with background lighting conditions.

All-sky observations of the OH emission (87 km) were made from Utah State University (USU) campus using an infrared (0.9-1.7 µm) cooled InGaAs camera. Test data were obtained in 2012 under a wide range of background lighting conditions to assess the potential for producing high-quality data under adverse conditions thereby enhancing future capability for continuous nighttime measurements at various sites.


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