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Release of Swarm-Aurora and the Conjunction Finder

07 February 2017

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ESA's Swarm mission explores Earth's magnetic environment. Its observations are taken in the ionosphere, where currents powered by the solar-terrestrial interaction produce magnetic fields that add to that of the Earth. These external currents flow throughout the vast magnetosphere, along magnetic field lines to Earth's ionosphere, couple to global-scale ionospheric currents, and are of fundamental importance in auroral processes. Swarm offers an exciting opportunity for studying the aurora and geospace.

There are now more than twenty satellites providing in situ measurements of key geospace processes. At the same time, extensive networks of ground-based instruments provide a view of the multi-scale ionospheric consequences of geospace dynamics and MI coupling. These ground-based networks include powerful imaging systems that provide an unprecedented combination of extent of coverage, and time and space resolution.

Swarm will be an auroral mission. To this end, the Swarm-Aurora project is being developed as a bridge between Swarm in situ data, the Swarm science community, and optical images of the aurora. With more than 75 All-Sky Imagers (ASIs) operated by numerous projects worldwide, the situation is complicated. A central feature of Swarm-Aurora is the conjunction finder, a web-based graphical user interface enabling users to quickly identify scientifically useful magnetic conjunctions between one or more Swarm satellites and one or more ASIs.

The conjunction finder provides users with knowledge of where a Swarm satellite is relative to ASIs, and if there is good ASI data available. ASI locations are shown only if there is data for that time, and summary data from those ASIs and Swarm can be displayed. To begin with, Swarm-Aurora is including ASI summary data from the THEMIS-ASI, MIRACLE, AGO, REGO, and Rainbow projects, but more projects will be added going forward. Magnetic footprints of other satellites (e.g., THEMIS, RBSP, Cluster, ePOP, etc.) that augment Swarm-Aurora science are also available.

Today we are pleased to announce the initial release of the Swarm-Aurora webpage including the conjunction finder.

Swarm-Aurora is part of Technical University of Denmark's Swarm DISC initiative, and is funded by ESA, with development led by Darren Chaddock of the University of Calgary.