OH airglow and equatorial variations observed by ISUAL instrument on board the FORMOSAT 2 satellite

Jan Bai Nee, Shang Da Tsai, Ting Hung Peng, Rue Ron Hsu, Alfred Bin Chi Chen, Shengpan Zhang, Tai Yin Huang, Panthalingal K. Rajesh, Jann Yenq Liu, Harold U. Frey, Steven B. Mende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OH airglow observed by the ISUAL (Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning) instrument on board the FORMOSAT 2 satellite is reported in this paper. The satellite is sun-synchronous and it returns to the same orbit at the same local time daily. By using this property, we can study the upper atmosphere in detail. With a CCD camera, ISUAL has measured the emission layers of OH Meinel band at 630 nm for several two-week periods in 2004 and 2007 in equatorial regions. ISUAL images are snapshots of the atmosphere 250 km (height) × 1200 km (horizontal distance). These images of OH airglow are analyzed to derive its peak height and latitudinal variations. ISUAL observation is unique in its capability of continuous observation of the upper atmosphere as the satellite travels from south to north along a specific orbit. However, 630 nm filter also measured O(1D) at 200 km, and there are interferences between O(1D) and OH airglows as as observed from a distance in space. We have studied the overlap of two airglows by simulations, and our final analyses show that OH airglow can be correctly derived with its average peak height of 89 ± 2.1 km usually lying within ± 10° latitude about the equator. ISUAL data reveal detailed structures of equatorial OH airglow such as the existences of a few secondary maxima within the equatorial regions, and the oscillations of the peak latitudes. These results are discussed and compared with previous reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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