We employ a numerical model of cusp ion precipitation and proton aurora emission to fit variations of the peak Doppler-shifted Lyman-α intensity observed on 26 November 2000 by the SI-12 channel of the FUV instrument on the IMAGE satellite. The major features of this event appeared in response to two brief swings of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) toward a southward orientation. We reproduce the observed spatial distributions of this emission on newly opened field lines by combining the proton emission model with a model of the response of ionospheric convection. The simulations are based on the observed variations of the solar wind proton temperature and concentration and the interplanetary magnetic field clock angle. They also allow for the efficiency, sampling rate, integration time and spatial resolution of the FUV instrument. The good match (correlation coefficient 0.91, significant at the 98% level) between observed and modeled variations confirms the time constant (~4 min) for the rise and decay of the proton emissions predicted by the model for southward IMF conditions. The implications for the detection of pulsed magnetopause reconnection using proton aurora are discussed for a range of interplanetary conditions.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Vol. 110, Issue 12