EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

What if… we could observe the aurora in both hemispheres. 

Alexa Halford1, Mike Liemohn2, Dan Welling, Aaron Ridley2, and the MAAX Science Team*
Alexa Halford et al.
  • 1NASA Goddard, Heliophysics, Greenbelt, United States of America (
  • 2University of Michigan
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

The aurora is a beautiful manifestation and tracer of the drivers and processes active in the interconnected geospace system. For decades we have stretched to find ways to use the aurora to gain a global view of our geospace system, most being ground-based. Ground-based measurements provide longevity in the northern hemisphere but are impacted by terrestrial weather and constrained by where there is accessible land. For a short few months, the Polar and IMAGE satellites periodically provided simultaneous images of the northern and southern aurora. From these few advantageous conjugate auroral zone observations, it was discovered that there are substantial asymmetries between the northern and southern hemispheres. Conjugate auroral features were found to exhibit different morphologies and are sometimes shifted by 10-20 ̊ in longitude. We have tried to gain insight through statistical studies of the aurora… but what questions could be answered if we observed the aurora in both hemispheres simultaneously? It has been 20+ years since NASA launched a space-based mission to image the aurora. Here we look to discuss a new mission idea focused on providing this genuinely global view, opening up pathways to answer large-scale system science questions. 

MAAX Science Team:

M. Liemohn, H.K. Connor, A. Dejong, G. Fasel, C. Gabrielse, K. Garcia-Sage, A. Halford, B. Harding, T. Immel, E. MacDonald, T. Matsuo, A. Ridley, E. Spanswick, D. Welling, C. Wu, S. Zou

How to cite: Halford, A., Liemohn, M., Welling, D., and Ridley, A. and the MAAX Science Team: What if… we could observe the aurora in both hemispheres. , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11423,, 2023.