• Electron transport and optical emissions in the aurora

      Lummerzheim, Dirk; Rees, M. H.; Lee, L. C.; Olson, J. V.; Royer, T. C.; Stamnes, K. (1987)
      A one-dimensional, steady state auroral model is developed based on a linear electron transport calculation. A set of cross sections for electron neutral collisions describing elastic scattering, energy loss, and photon emission is compiled and used in conjunction with a discrete ordinate transport code. Calculated electron intensities are compared with in situ rocket measurements. Auroral optical emissions that result from direct electron impact on neutrals are calculated for synthetic and observed electron spectra. A systematic dependence of the brightness of auroral features on energy flux, characteristic energy, and atmospheric composition is found and parameterized. A method for interpreting the brightness and the ratio of brightnesses of certain auroral emissions in terms of the energy flux, characteristic energy, and relative oxygen density is described. Application of this method to auroral images acquired by nadir viewing instruments aboard a satellite is discussed and the distribution of energy flux, characteristic energy, and ionospheric conductances over the auroral oval is determined. Emissions that are suitable for analysing auroral spectra in terms of the atomic oxygen abundance in the auroral zone are identified.