Time-dependent electron transport and optical emissions in the aurora
|Peticolas, Laura Marie
|Dissertation (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2000
|This thesis presents the first time-dependent transport model of auroral electrons. The evolution of the spherical electron intensity in phase space is studied for a variety of incident electron intensities. It is shown that the secondary electrons with energies <10 eV and at altitudes >150 km can take over 300 ms to reach steady state in phase space. Since there are bright optical emissions in this region, such a time dependence in the auroral electrons is important. The emissions of N2(2PG) 3371 A and <math> <f> <rm>N<sup>+</sup><inf>2</inf></rm></f> </math> (1NG) 4278 A are studied for time-varying electron pulses to show for the first time that this ratio will change until the secondary electrons reach steady state in the ionosphere. The way in which the 3371A/4278A ratio changes with time-varying precipitation depends on the precipitating electron spectra. The changes in the emission ratio can be used to learn more about the auroral acceleration region and the role of the ionosphere in auroral emissions. Field-aligned bursts (FABs), often observed in electron spectra of instruments flying over flickering aurora, are modeled with the time-dependent transport model. How the ionosphere modifies these electrons is shown. The 3371 and 4278 A emissions of flickering FABs are modeled to study the optical effects of modulated electron intensities in time. A study of 4278 A emissions for electron source regions from 630 to 4,000 km are studied along with frequency variations from 5 to 100 Hz. This study shows that the percent variation of the maximum to the minimum column brightness is less for higher frequencies and more distant source regions. It is shown that with an accurate time-dependent transport calculation and 4278 A emission observations of flickering aurora it should be possible to deduce the source altitude of the modulated electrons creating the optical flickering.
|Time-dependent electron transport and optical emissions in the aurora