University of Oulu

Nanjo, S., Hozumi, Y., Hosokawa, K., Kataoka, R., Miyoshi, Y., & Oyama, S.‐i. ( 2020). Fine‐scale visualization of aurora in a wide area using color digital camera images from the International Space Station. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, e2019JA027729.

Fine‐scale visualization of aurora in a wide area using color digital camera images from the international space station

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Author: Nanjo, Sota1; Hozumi, Yuta1; Hosokawa, Keisuke1;
Organizations: 1Graduate School of Communication Engineering and Informatics, The University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Japan
2National Institute of Polar Research, Tachikawa, Japan
3Department of Polar Science, School of Multidisciplinary Sciences, SOKENDAI, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Tachikawa, Japan
4Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
5Ionospheric Physics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 20.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-22


The full‐color photographs of aurora have been taken with digital single‐lens reflex cameras mounted on the International Space Station (ISS). Since these photographs do not have accurate time and geographical information, in order to use them as scientific data, it is necessary to calibrate the imaging parameters (such as looking direction and angle of view of the camera) of the photographs. For this purpose, we calibrated the imaging parameters using a city light image taken from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellite following the method of Hozumi et al. (2016, We mapped the photographs onto the geographic coordinate system using the calibrated imaging parameters. To evaluate the accuracy of the mapping, we compared the aurora taken simultaneously from ISS and ground. Comparing the spatial structure of discrete aurora and the temporal variation of pulsating aurora, the accuracy of the data set is less than 0.3 s in time and less than 5 km in space in the direction perpendicular to the looking direction of the camera. The generated data set has a wide field of view (~ 1,100 × 900 km), and their temporal resolution is less than 1 s. Not only that, the field of view can sweep a wide area (~ 3,000 km in longitude) in a short time (~ 10 min). Thus, this new imaging capability will enable us to capture the evolution of fine‐scale spatial structure of aurora in a wide area.

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Series: Journal of geophysical research. Space physics
ISSN: 2169-9380
ISSN-E: 2169-9402
ISSN-L: 2169-9380
Volume: 125
Issue: 3
Article number: e2019JA027729
DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027729
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: This work was supported by Grants‐in‐Aid for Scientific Research (15H05747, 15H05815, 16H06286, 17H00728, and 18KK0100) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Dataset Reference: The auroral photographs taken from ISS are courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center. The photographs taken from ISS are available online ( We thank NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center and U.S. Air Force Weather Agency for the provision of the global nighttime stable light data obtained from the visible and infrared sensors (OLS) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite. The city light images taken by OLS are available online ( The authors acknowledge NASA Contract NAS5‐02099 for the use of data from the THEMIS Mission. Specifically, we thank S. Mende and E. Donovan for use of THEMIS ASI data. The ASI data are available online ( The EMCCD ASI data taken at Athabasca are available at the ERG Science Center operated by ISAS/JAXA and ISEE/Nagoya University (
Copyright information: © 2020. American Geophysical Union.