A technique for detecting auroral plasma oscillations
Jost, Robert Jerry
Anderson, Hugh R.
Master of Science
An instrument designed to measure AC electric fields associated with plasma density fluctuations has been developed and flown into a turbulent auroral ionosphere aboard a sounding rocket. The instrument incorporates an antenna system with a swept frequency spectrum analyzer having a frequency range of 1 kHz to 1 MHz. Laboratory calibration has produced an input/output response for measuring uniform electric fields with field strengths in the range of approximately 5-15 volts/meter. Theoretical considerations suggest that a turbulent auroral plasma may contain large density waves with field strengths within the instrument's operational range. However, preliminary results from a flight into active aurora indicate no field enhancement above detection threshold at the expected plasma frequency.