Research Article

Views of Earth's Magnetosphere with the IMAGE Satellite

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Science  26 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5504, pp. 619-624
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5504.619

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The IMAGE spacecraft uses photon and neutral atom imaging and radio sounding techniques to provide global images of Earth's inner magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. Auroral imaging at ultraviolet wavelengths shows that the proton aurora is displaced equatorward with respect to the electron aurora and that discrete auroral forms at higher latitudes are caused almost completely by electrons. Energetic neutral atom imaging of ions injected into the inner magnetosphere during magnetospheric disturbances shows a strong energy-dependent drift that leads to the formation of the ring current by ions in the several tens of kiloelectron volts energy range. Ultraviolet imaging of the plasmasphere has revealed two unexpected features—a premidnight trough region and a dayside shoulder region—and has confirmed the 30-year-old theory of the formation of a plasma tail extending from the duskside plasmasphere toward the magnetopause.

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