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Rainbow of the Night: First Direct Observation of a SAR arc evolving into STEVE

Presentation #306.02 in the session Innovation and Discovery in Solar and Space Physics Enabled by Citizen Science.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Rainbow of the Night: First Direct Observation of a SAR arc evolving into STEVE

During the 17 March 2015 geomagnetic storm citizen scientist observations from Dunedin (45.95° S, 170.32° E), New Zealand, revealed a bright wide red arc known as stable auroral red (SAR) arc evolving into a thin white-mauve arc, known as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE). An all-sky imager at the Mount John Observatory (43.99° S, 170.46° E), 200 km north of Dunedin, detected an extremely bright arc in 630.0 nm, with a peak of ~6 kR, co-located with the arc measured at Dunedin at an assumed height of 425 km. Swarm satellite data measured plasma parameters that showed strong subauroral ion drift (SAID) signatures when the SAR arc was observed. These conditions intensified to extremely high values in a thinner channel when STEVE was present. Our results highlight fast evolution of plasma properties and effects on optical emissions. Current theories and models are unable to reproduce or explain these observations.

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