Citizen Scientists Discover a New Auroral Form : Dunes Provide Insight Into the Upper Atmosphere

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Palmroth , M , Grandin , M , Helin , M , Koski , P , Oksanen , A , Glad , M A , Valonen , R , Saari , K , Bruus , E , Norberg , J , Viljanen , A , Kauristie , K & Verronen , P T 2020 , ' Citizen Scientists Discover a New Auroral Form : Dunes Provide Insight Into the Upper Atmosphere ' , AGU Advances , vol. 1 , no. 1 , e2019AV000133 .

Title: Citizen Scientists Discover a New Auroral Form : Dunes Provide Insight Into the Upper Atmosphere
Author: Palmroth, Minna; Grandin, Maxime; Helin, Matti; Koski, Pirjo; Oksanen, Arto; Glad, Minna A.; Valonen, Rami; Saari, Kari; Bruus, Emma; Norberg, Johannes; Viljanen, Ari; Kauristie, Kirsti; Verronen, Pekka T
Contributor organization: Department of Physics
Space Physics Research Group
Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences
Particle Physics and Astrophysics
Date: 2020-01-28
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: AGU Advances
ISSN: 2576-604X
Abstract: Auroral forms are like fingerprints linking optical features to physical phenomena in the near‐Earth space. While discovering new forms is rare, recently, scientists reported of citizens' observations of STEVE, a pinkish optical manifestation of subauroral ionospheric drifts that were not thought to be visible to the naked eye. Here, we present a new auroral form named “the dunes”. On 7 October 2018, citizen observers took multiple digital photographs of the same dunes simultaneously from different locations in Finland and Sweden. We develop a triangulation method to analyze the photographs and conclude that the dunes are a monochromatic wave field with a wavelength of about 45 km within a thin layer at 100 km altitude. Supporting data suggest that the dunes manifest atmospheric waves, possibly mesospheric bores, which are rarely detected, and have not previously been observed via diffuse aurora nor at auroral latitudes and altitudes. The dunes present a new opportunity to investigate the coupling of the lower/middle atmosphere to the thermosphere and ionosphere. Our paper adds to the growing body of work that illustrates the value of citizen scientist images in carrying out quantitative analysis of optical phenomena, especially at small scales at subauroral latitudes. Further, the dune project presents means to create general interest toward physics, emphasizing that citizens can take part in scientific work by helping to uncover new phenomena.
Subject: 115 Astronomy, Space science
mesospheric bore
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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