Research ArticleSPACE SCIENCES

New science in plain sight: Citizen scientists lead to the discovery of optical structure in the upper atmosphere

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Science Advances  14 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, eaaq0030
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0030
  • Fig. 1 An observation of the subauroral arc (purple) known as STEVE, recorded on 25 July 2016 (05:51 to 06:10 UT) from Regina, Saskatchewan.

    The arc is located ~4° equatorward of the main auroral oval [green glow, bottom right in (A) and (B)] and runs across the sky in the east-west direction. Small green auroral features, resembling a picket fence, are also observed in (B) and (C). All images in the sequence can be found in the video linked to in the Supplementary Materials.

  • Fig. 2 STEVE event observed on 25 July 2016 by the Lucky Lake REGO ASI at 06:45 UT around 59.5° latitude.

    As indicated, the STEVE arc is the narrow enhancement spanning nearly the whole field of view. The superposed rectangle corresponds to the Athabasca FESO MSP, located at the Athabasca University Geophysics Observatory (AUGO), data in which the proton aurora is observed at least 2° poleward of STEVE. The blue labels indicate the locations of AUGO, major cities, and the citizen science observations of STEVE. The bright patches in the center of the image are artifacts and not genuine sources of light.

  • Fig. 3 The conjunction (highlighted in the pink region) of the STEVE optical emission with a pronounced SAID signature at satellite altitudes.

    A plot of the Lucky Lake REGO ASI intensity along the satellite track mapped at three different altitudes (A), together with Swarm A satellite measurements (B to E). Plotted in (B) is the ion velocity (positive is eastward flow), in (C) is the eastward magnetic field deviation relative to the undisturbed geomagnetic field, in (D) is the ambient electron temperature, and in (E) is the electron number density.

Supplementary Materials

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