Accession Number:

ADA523541

Title:

Heating of the Polar Ionosphere

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC PLASMA PHYSICS DIV

Report Date:

2005-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

3.0

Abstract:

As technology advances, modern society and especially the military rely on space-based assets. Sensitive systems include communications, surveillance, and navigation. Consequently, understanding and predicting space weather--the state of the environment in near-Earth regions--has become increasingly critical. Recently, geomagnetic storms have come to the publics attention through the popular press. For example, the great storms that occurred around Halloween in 2003 were widely reported in the news. Adverse effects resulting from the impact of geomagnetic storms include the loss of satellite services because of electronic disruption and outages in the electric power grids from surges. In this article, we discuss research on another consequence of geomagnetic activity, namely, the large amount of energy deposited in the polar ionosphere. During geomagnetic storms, the heated ionosphere and neutral atmosphere expand, increasing density at high altitudes so that satellites experience enhanced drag. As a direct result, orbits are altered, communications to other satellites or to the ground can be disrupted, and the spacecraft may require a boost to continue its mission.

Subject Categories:

  • Meteorology
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE