J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 3, 2013
COST Action ES0803
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||10 January 2013|
The thermospheric auroral red line polarization: confirmation of detection and first quantitative analysis
UJF-Grenoble 1/CNRS-INSU, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG), UMR 5274, 38041 Grenoble, France
2 Gipsa-Lab, 38041 Saint-Martin d’Hères Cedex 9, France
3 Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Ringlaan-3-Avenue Circulaire, B-1180 Brussels, Belgium
4 LESIA, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 92190 Meudon, France
5 Department of Physics, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1048, N-0316 Blindern, Oslo, Norway
6 Space Research Centre Polish Academy of Sciences, ul.Bartycka 18a, 00-716 Warsaw, Poland
* corresponding author: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 21 December 2012
The thermospheric atomic oxygen red line is among the brightest in the auroral spectrum. Previous observations in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, indicated that it may be intrinsically polarized, but a possible contamination by light pollution could not be ruled out. During the winter 2010/2011, the polarization of the red line was measured for the first time at the Polish Hornsund polar base without contamination. Two methods of data analysis are presented to compute the degree of linear polarization (DoLP) and angle of linear polarization (AoLP): one is based on averaging and the other one on filtering. Results are compared and are in qualitative agreement. For solar zenith angles (SZA) larger than 108° (with no contribution from Rayleigh scattering), the DoLP ranges between 2 and 7%. The AoLP is more or less aligned with the direction of the magnetic field line, in agreement with the theoretical predictions of Bommier et al. (2010). However, the AoLP values range between ±20° around this direction, depending on the auroral conditions. Correlations between the polarization parameters and the red line intensity I were considered. The DoLP decreases when I increases, confirming a trend observed during the observations in Longyearbyen. However, for small values of I, DoLP varies within a large range of values, while for large values of I, DoLP is always small. The AoLP also varies with the red line intensity, slightly rotating around the magnetic field line.
Key words: thermosphere / auroral emissions / polarization
© J. Lilensten et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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