High spectral resolution line profile observations indicate a reproducible semi-annual variation in the geocoronal hydrogen Balmer α effective temperature. These observations were made between 08 January 2000 and 21 November 2001 from Pine Bluff Observatory (WI) with a second generation double etalon Fabry-Perot annular summing spectrometer operating at a resolving power of 80,000. This data set spans sixty-four nights of observations (1404 spectra in total) over 20 dark-moon periods. A two cluster Gaussian model fitting procedure is used to determine Doppler line widths, accounting for fine structure contributions to the line, including those due to cascade; cascade contributions at Balmer α are found to be 5 ± 3%. An observed decrease in effective temperature with increasing shadow altitude is found to be a persistent feature for every night in which a wide range of shadow altitudes were sampled. A semiannual variation is observed in the column exospheric effective temperature with maxima near day numbers 100 and 300 and minima near day numbers 1 and 200. Temperatures ranged from ∼710 to 975 K. Average MSIS model exobase temperatures for similar conditions are approximately 1.5× higher than those derived from the Balmer α observations, a difference likely due to contributions to the observed Balmer αcolumn emission from higher, cooler regions of the exosphere.
Journal of Geophysical Research
American Geophysical Union
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Mierkiewicz, E. J., F. L. Roesler, and S. M. Nossal (2012), Observed seasonal variations in exospheric effective temperatures, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A06313, doi:10.1029/2011JA017123