Interactions and Characteristics of Precipitating Auroral Electrons and Backscatter, and Remote Sensing Upper Atmospheric Neutral Density

When (times in MT)
Wed, Jul 17 2024, 2pm - 1 hour
Event Type
John Dombeck
University of Minnesota
Building & Room

Precipitating electrons and their related/induced backscatter are a critically important aspect of M-IT (Magnetosphere-Ionosphere/Thermosphere) coupling and interactions, conductivity and chemistry in the upper atmosphere.  Neutral densities are also extremely important to the processes in the ionosphere and upper atmosphere and have been elusive to measure between the highest altitudes of balloons and the lowest altitudes of satellites.  The FAST satellite was specifically designed and instrumented to study auroral phenomena, including high resolution, full distribution measurements of electrons.  The mission collected data for almost 13 years, from 6/1996 – 5/2009, conversing more than one full solar cycle in a non-node-locked elliptical nearly polar orbit, that provided a wealth of information.  The presentation will cover a number of results and tools developed from these measurements.  These include an Empirical Backscatter Model and a Quasi-Static Potential (Inverted-V) Net Precipitating Flux Model, a method for using the full distribution to determine the flux associated with various precipitation mechanisms occurring simultaneously, and a crude method for remote sensing the neutral density by altitude below the spacecraft.  We will also present a new tool which is soon to be available to the community for determining statistical spectra and variability of down-going, up-going, and mirroring electrons from the FAST mission based on conditions and locations selectable by the user.

About the Speaker

John Dombeck received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2005, and his thesis on Alfven waves and acceleration in the auroral zone was the winner of the Fred L Scarf award in 2006.  He has predominantly been involved in geophysical satellite data analysis research and more recently model development.  He also has an Electrical Engineering degree and worked at IBM and Eaton on US Navy ship control systems and was the CTO for a technology company in a previous lifetime during the dot-com era.