Abstract

To investigate the dynamics of auroras and faint upper atmospheric emissions, a new type of imaging instrument was developed. The instrument is a wide field of view, narrow-spectral-band imaging system using an intensified S.E.C. TV camera in a time exposure mode. Pictures were taken at very low light levels of a few photons per exposure per resolution element. These pictures are displayed in the form of a pseudocolor presentation in which the color represents spectral ratios of two of the observed auroral spectral emission features. The spectral ratios play an important part in the interpretation of auroral particle dynamics. A digital picture processing facility is also part of the system which enables the digital manppulation of the pictures at standard TV rates. As an example, hydrogen auroras can be displayed having been corrected for nonspectral background by subtracting a picture obtained by a suitable background filter. The instrumentation was calibrated in the laboratory and was used in several field experiments. Elaborate exposure sequences were developed to extend the dynamic range and to cover the large range of auroral brightnesses in a fairly linear manner.

© 1977 Optical Society of America

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