Coordinated optical and radar observations of ionospheric pumping for a frequency pass through the second electron gyroharmonic at HAARP

M. J. Kosch, T. Pedersen, E. Mishin, S. Oyama, J. Hughes, A. Senior, B. Watkins, B. Bristow

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On 4 February 2005, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility was operated in O and X mode while pointing into the magnetic zenith to produce artificial optical emissions in the ionospheric F layer. The pump frequency was set to 2.85 MHz to ensure passing through the second electron gyroharmonic of the decaying ionosphere. Optical recordings at 557.7 and 630 nm were performed simultaneously with the side-viewing high frequency (HF) and colocated ultra high frequency (UHF) ionospheric radars. No X-mode effects were found. For O-mode pumping, when passing from below to above the second gyroharmonic frequency, the optical intensity shows a distinct increase when the plasma frequency passes through the second electron gyroharmonic, while the UHF backscatter changes from persistent to overshoot in character. The optical intensity decreases when pump wave reflection ceases, dropping to zero when upper-hybrid resonance ceases. The HF radar backscatter increases when the upper-hybrid resonance frequency passes from below to above the second gyroharmonic frequency. These observations are consistent with the coexistence of the parametric decay and thermal parametric instabilities above the second gyroharmonic. The combined optical and radar data provide evidence that up to three electron-acceleration mechanisms are acting, sometimes simultaneously, depending on the pump frequency relative to the second gyroharmonic. In addition, we provide the first evidence of lowerhybrid waves in HF radar centerline data and show that the parametric decay instability producing Langmuir waves can be stimulated in the magnetic zenith at high latitudes despite the pump wave not reaching the nominal frequency-matching height.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA06325
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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