Terrestrial magnetospheric imaging: Numerical modeling of low-energy neutral atoms

Kurt R. Moore, Herbert O. Funsten, David J. McComas, Earl E. Scime, Michelle F. Thomsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Imaging of the terrestrial magnetosphere can be performed by detection of low energy neutral atoms (LENAs) that are produced by charge exchange between magnetospheric plasma ions and cold neutral atoms of the Earth's geocorona. As a result of recent instrumentation advances it is now feasible to make energy-resolved measurements of LENAs from less than 1 keV to greater than 30 keV. To model expected LENA fluxes at a spacecraft, we initially used a simplistic, spherically symmetric magnetospheric plasma model. We now present improved calculations of both hydrogen and oxygen line-of-sight LENA fluxes expected on orbit for various plasma regimes as predicted by the Rice University Magnetospheric Specification Model. We also estimate expected image count rates based on realistic instrument geometric factors, energy passbands, and image accumulation intervals. The results indicate that presently proposed LENA instruments are capable of imaging of storm time ring current and potentially even quiet time ring current fluxes, and that phenomena such as ion injections from the tail and subsequent drifts toward the dayside magnetopause may also be deduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInstrumentation for Magnetospheric Imagery II
EditorsSupriya Chakrabarti
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780819412577
StatePublished - Jul 7 1993
Externally publishedYes
EventInstrumentation for Magnetospheric Imagery II - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jul 11 1993Jul 16 1993

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceInstrumentation for Magnetospheric Imagery II
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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