Generation of an Artificial Aurora

Science  27 Jun 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3887, pp. 1512-1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3887.1512


On 26 January 1969 an Aerobee 350 rocket was fired from Wallops Island, Virginia, carrying an electron accelerator. Above 230 kilometers the electron guns put out a beam of 0.5 ampere of 10 kev electrons in pulses of 1-second duration aimed downward along the earth's magnetic field lines. The interaction of electron beam with the atmosphere at an altitude of about 100 kilometers generated enough light so that the auroral rays produced could be photographed on the ground by television camera systems.