Author(s): , , , , , , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. Oukaimeden Observatory, Cadi Ayyad University, 2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois 61801, USA
In this work, we present a method to measure the drift velocities of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) in the low latitude ionosphere. To calculate the EPB drift velocity, we use 630.0-nm airglow images collected by the Portable Ionospheric Camera and Small Scale Observatory (PICASSO) system deployed at the Oukkaimden observatory in Morocco. To extract the drift velocity, the individual images were processed by first spatially registering the images using the star field. After this, the stars were removed from the images using a point suppression methodology, the images were projected into geographic coordinates assuming an airglow emission altitude of 250 km. Once the images were projected into geographic coordinates, the intensities of the airglow along a line of constant geomagnetic latitude (31°) are used to detect the presence of an EPB, which shows up as a depletion in airglow intensity. To calculate the EPB drift velocity, we divide the spatial lag between depletions found in two images (found by the application of correlation analysis) by the time difference between these two images. With multiple images, we will have several velocity values and consequently we can draw the EPB drift velocity curve. Future analysis will compare the estimates of the plasma drift velocity with the thermospheric neutral wind velocity estimated by a collocated Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) at the observatory.