Shaped change injection of field-aligned barium and calcium plasma to investigate the physics of mass-dependent ion acceleration

Regions: South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, atmospheric sciences, aurora borealis

Principal Investigator: Wescott, E.M. (2)
Licence Number: 12566
Organization: University of Alaska
Licensed Year(s): 1995 1994
Issued: Jan 01, 1994
Project Team: H.C.S. Nielsen

Objective(s): To investigate processes responsible for the aurora. Auroras are caused by energetic electrons accelerated at an altitude of about 8000 kilometres above the Earth, but we do not know how. By sending beams of barium and calcium ions into the atmosphere, we should be able to test two theories about how the aurora is generated.

Project Description: The researchers are investigating how the aurora borealis is created. Beams of barium and calcium will be sent up into the Earth's atmosphere (via a rocket launched from north of Fairbanks, Alaska). These beams, which will be released at night into the atmosphere at an altitude of 500km, should be visible from Fort Smith. A video camera, located near the Upper Air Station, will record the experiment.