Physics Department Seminar University of Alaska Fairbanks

J O U R N A L    C L U B


Mapping the Auroral Electrojet

Brandon Burkholder and Stefan Awender
Physics Departmen/GI UAF



The auroral electrojet is comprised of a pair current systems that occur on the dawn and dusk sides of the auroral oval and flow along lines of roughly constant magnetic latitude. It is driven by the magnetospheric "convection" electric field, and flows at middle E-region heights where ion flow is retarded more effectively by neutral collisions than is the electron flow. The Alaska chain of magnetometers spans the corresponding geographic latitudes and is used to measure magnetic deflections due to these auroral electrojet currents. Given that the magnetometers lie roughly along the same line of longitude, the geometry is ideal for a linear fitting routine. We determine a set of basis functions from the Biot-Savart law and, in real time, infer a current distribution at 130 km altitude which corresponds to a best fit to the magnetometer data. The eventual live data product may aid in rocket missions and short-term auroral forecasting/nowcasting, as well as being of general interest to the global space weather community.


Friday, 8 December 2017

Globe Room, Elvey Building