Coordinated ground-based and geosynchronous satellite-based measurements of auroral pulsations

David M. Suszcynsky, Joseph E. Borovsky, Michelle F. Thomsen, David J. McComas, Richard D. Belian

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We describe a technique that uses a ground-based all-sky video camera and geosynchronous satellite-based plasma and energetic particle detectors to study ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling as it relates to the aurora. The video camera system was deployed in Eagle, Alaska for a seven month period at the foot of the magnetic field line that threads geosynchronous satellite 1989-046. Since 1989-046 corotates with the earth, its footprint remains nearly fixed in the vicinity of Eagle, allowing for routine continuous monitoring of an auroral field line at its intersections with the ground and with geosynchronous orbit. As an example of the utility of this technique, we present coordinated ground-based and satellite-based observations during periods of auroral pulsations and compare this data to the predictions of both the relaxation oscillator theory and flow cyclotron maser theory for the generation of pulsating aurorae. The observed plasma and energetic particle characteristics at geosynchronous orbit during pulsating aurorae displays are found to be in agreement with the general predictions of both theories, lending further support to the belief that a cyclotron resonance mechanism is responsible for auroral pulsations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies by Optical Methods - Kiev, Ukraine
Duration: Sep 2 1996Sep 2 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • All-sky camera
  • Aurora
  • Geosynchronous orbit
  • Ionosphere
  • Magnetosphere
  • Pulsating aurora


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