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Journal of Geophysical Research





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In the spring and fall of 1978 we made an extensive series of plasma line and correlative observations with the Chatanika incoherent scatter radar. To make these measurements, we greatly modified the radar receiving system. In addition to enlarging the plasma line filter bank the most significant change was the incorporation of a high-speed correlator provided by the French. This was the first use of a correlator in a monostatic radar to obtain the intensity spectra of naturally occurring plasma lines. In this paper we develop the signal-processing theory that we use to obtain the plasma line intensities from these measurements; we also show that these intensities compare well with those obtained from the filter bank. To show the richness of the phenomena and to explore the capabilities of the correlator, we examine a wide variety of spectra that have been enhanced by secondary electrons in the auroral E layer. From the other simultaneous measurements we are able to relate these spectra and their variations to the auroral situation. We also obtained the first measurements in the auroral region of photoelectron-excited plasma lines in the E and F layers. Perhaps most significant, in the plasma line spectra we detected a Doppler shift that we then used to determine the Birkeland current carried by ambient electrons. Although there is a large estimated uncertainty for this first determination, we obtained a downward Birkeland current of 10 μA/m² in the diffuse aurora in what is, most likely, the equatorward portion of the evening sector auroral oval.


Published by American Geophysical Union in Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics. Publisher PDF available for download through link above.

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