- FAST captures high-time resolution electron measurements with simultaneous airborne
observations. The FAST satellite is one of many tools scientists are using to investigate the aurora and plasma
processes occurring in the region where aurora producing particles are accelerated. Airborne observatories flying
below, sounding rockets passing through, and satellites like FAST and POLAR orbiting above the auroral zones help
give a more complete picture of the complex processes which create the aurora.
- The visual image of the aurora in the photograph at left was taken with an all-sky
camera from a high-altitude airplane. This photograph is aligned with data taken from the FAST satellite. Superimposed
on the visual aurora is a projected path of the FAST satellite which simultaneously collected electron measurements
in space above the visible aurora. The electron data from FAST in the bottom plot shows the number and energies
of electrons that are streaming down Earth's magnetic field. It is these particles which create the aurora. Notice
that the peaks in the electron measurement data correspond to the visible arcs.