loading page

Auroral Illumination of Solid Bodies
  • Charles Lougheed Bennett,
  • Notanee Bourassa
Charles Lougheed Bennett
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Notanee Bourassa
Author Profile


Numerous objects in the ionosphere, including both satellites and meteors, having rapidly varying light intensity and color have been observed in photographs taken during an active aurora. It is suggested that theses variations may be attributed to Auroral Bombardment-induced Light Emission and Sputtering produced by auroral particles striking these objects. This phenomenon is found to increase the brightness of some objects by more than a thousand-fold. It is hypothesized that this phenomenon acting on a remnant dust cloud from ablated meteoric material left along the path of its trajectory through the ionosphere could produce the optical emissions known as STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement). The July 25, 2016 STEVE event is very closely aligned in 3-dimensional direction with the location of the radiant for the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower. The best alignment in time with the radiant direction coincides with the appearance of rising flashes of light that occurred 5 minutes before STEVE’s initial visibility. These rising flashes of light might also be caused by the hypothetical meteor.