Global Observations of the 630-nm Nightglow and Patterns of Brightness Measured by ISUAL

  • Author(s): Chih-Yu Chiang, Tzu-Fang Chang, Sunny Wing-Yee Tam, Tai-Yin Huang, Alfred Bing-Chih Chen, Han-Tzong Su, and Rue-Ron Hsu
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2012.12.13.01(SEC)
  • Keywords: Midnight temperature maximum, Airglow, ISUAL, Ionosphere



This study investigates the distributions and occurrence mechanisms of the global local-midnight airglow brightness through FORMOSAT-2/ISUAL satellite imaging observations. We focus on the OI 630.0 nm nightglow emission at altitudes of ~250 km along equatorial space. The database used in this study included data from 2007 to 2008 under solar minimum conditions. The data were classified into four specified types in the statistical study. We found that the occurrence of equatorial brightness was often in the vicinity of the geographic equator and mostly at equinoxes with a tendency to move toward the summer hemisphere as the season changes. Conjugate brightness occurring simultaneously on both sides of the geomagnetic equator was observed predominantly in the northern winter. Furthermore, midnight brightness appeared to have lower luminosity from May to July. We suggest that the global midnight brightness associated with the locations and seasons was the result of several effects which include the influence of the thermospheric midnight temperature maximum (MTM), summer-to-winter neutral wind, and ionospheric anomalies.

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