Penetration of Auroral Electrons into the Atmosphere

  • Martin Walt
  • William M. MacDonald
  • William E. Francis
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 10)


The phenomenon of high-energy electrons impinging upon the atmosphere is now recognized to be a common one in geophysics. The most spectacular demonstration of this effect is the polar aurora, in which the luminosity produced during the excitation of air atoms and molecules by the electrons is readily visible. However, many other geophysical features are also caused by precipitating electrons since the structure of the ionosphere can be markedly affected by particle bombardment. Radio attenuation effects, particularly of the type observed by riometers in the auroral region, and radar back-scattering from inhomogeneities in the ionosphere are also an indication of electron precipitation. Some geomagnetic variations are related to the bombarding electrons, since the change in ionospheric conductivity resulting from the electron bombardment is an important factor in the localization of the current which produces magnetic variations.


Angular Distribution Field Line Pitch Angle Radial Diffusion Electron Flux 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Walt
    • 1
  • William M. MacDonald
    • 1
  • William E. Francis
    • 1
  1. 1.Lockheed Palo Alto Research LaboratoryPalo AltoUSA

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