Duskside Science: Initial IMAGE Science Operations

IMAGE will begin science operations one month after launch, following instrument turn-on and check-out. Initial observations will be made at relatively low latitudes (~45 degrees) with apogee in the dusk and late-afternoon sectors. The duskside science phase will last approximately one and a half months. During this phase of the mission, IMAGE will be able to observe the structure of the duskside plasmasphere and its response to to increased plasma convection during geomagnetic storms and will monitor the fate of the eroded plasmaspheric material that is entrained in the sunward plasma flow. Observations of the plasmasphere will be performed with the EUV and RPI instruments. Other phenomena that IMAGE will investigate during the duskside mission phase include:

  • Duskside Kelvin-Helmholtz waves on the magnetopause and their coupling to the ionosphere, as manifest in auroral intensity structures (RPI, FUV)

  • Duskside ring current plasma injections (HENA, MENA)

  • Ionospheric outflow (LENA, with auroral diagnostics from FUV)

In addition to observations of energetic neutrals produced in the magnetosphere, IMAGE will also attempt to detect interstellar neutrals with the LENA instrument.

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