Abstract

Since 1972 high resolution Fabry-Perot spectrometers have been used at Fritz Peak Observatory (39.9°N, 105.5°W), Colorado to measure the nighttime variation of thermospheric temperatures and winds from the line profiles and Doppler shifts of the OI 15,867 K (630.0-nm) line emission in the nightglow. With the aid of these measurements we have defined the nighttime variation of winds and temperatures at F-layer heights for the various seasons of the year during georfiagnetic quiet periods. During geomagnetic storm periods deviation in the nighttime variation of the winds and temperatures from those determined during geomagnetic quiet conditions have been shown to occur. In addition, measurements made during geomagnetic disturbed conditions have shown the existence of large-scale thermospheric waves generated at high latitudes by impulsive auroral heating events that are observed to propagate equatorward. The nighttime winds and temperatures measured from Fritz Peak Observatory have been used in various theoretical models of global thermospheric dynamics to infer the global circulation patterns, temperature structure, and thermospheric response to geomagnetic activity. By requiring agreement between the calculated and measured winds and temperatures over Fritz Peak Observatory, the over-all magnitude of the thermospheric high latitude heat source due to auroral processes has been inferred for both geomagnetic quiet and disturbed conditions. This energy source has been shown to be related to dissipation of the ring current energy in the high latitude ionosphere. The results of various geophysical studies using Fritz Peak Observatory data and theoretical model calculation are summarized.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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