How These Patterns Can Be Used

When displayed in geographic coordinates, the statistical patterns of auroral particle power input provide a "best-guess" estimate of the locations, geographic extents, and intensities of aurora at the time of the satellite pass that provided the estimate of auroral activity. Energetic auroral particles (primarily electrons) not only produce the visible aurora but also greatly influence the properties of the ionosphere and are connected with strong electrical currents (as much as several million amperes) that flow in the ionosphere and connect along the geomagnetic field to dynamo processes at high altitude in the magnetosphere. Thus, this same display provides a similar "best-guess" estimate of the geographic locations that may be subject to geomagnetic fluctuations that result from electrical currents flowing in the ionosphere, or the radio propagation paths that may be degraded because of increased absorption of the radio signal by the disturbed ionosphere.