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Earth's aurora as viewed with the FUV Wideband Imaging Camera (WIC) at wavelengths from 140-190 nm. WIC detects far-ultraviolet emissions from molecular nitrogen that has been excited by precipitating energetic electrons. The image on the left shows an active aurora produced during the major geomagnetic storm of July 15-16, 2000. For more images and a dramatic movie of the July 15 aurora, click on the picture to the left. (Photo credit: G. R. Gladstone, SwRI; S. Mende and H. Frey, Space Sciences Laboratory, Univ. of California, Berkeley)


Auroral emissions are excited by precipitating protons as well as by energetic electrons. Although the proton aurora had been observed and studied from the ground for many years, it has not been imaged globally from space until the launch of IMAGE. The panel on the left shows the proton aurora, observed with the FUV Spectrographic Imager (SI) through the detection of Doppler-shifted Lyman alpha emissions from protons undergoing charge exchange reactions with the neutral gases of the upper atmosphere. The panel on the right shows auroral emissions from atomic oxygen excited by energetic electron precipitation. (Photo credit: S. Mende and H. Frey, Space Sciences Laboratory, Univ. of California, Berkeley)

The aurora, as viewed with the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) imager on May 24, 2000. The discrete bright feature near midnight (lower right) signals the beginning of an auroral substorm. EUV was designed to image the plasmasphere by detecting 30.4-nm photons scattered by plasmaspheric helium ions. However, the imager has a sufficiently wide bandpass that it--serendipitously--also detects auroral emissions believed to be from atomic oxygen ions at 53.9 nm. (Photo credit: B. Sandel and T. Forrester, Univ. of Arizona)

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