The NUADU experiment on TC-2 and the first Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA) images recorded by this instrument
The Earth’s ring current and how it responds to varying interplanetary conditions is described and an account provided of the production of Energetic Neutral Atoms (ENAs) in the geo-corona. Also, the potential to remotely monitor, on a global scale, the temporal and spatial evolution of magnetospheric plasma populations through analysing ENA images recorded during magnetic storms/substorms is indicated. A technical account of the Energetic NeUtral Atom Detector Unit NUADU aboard China’s TC-2 mission (measurement range 45–>158 keV) follows, together with an account of the scientific objectives of NUADU, both in stand-alone mode and in the context of multi-point imaging. Low altitude ENA emissions recorded by NUADU during south polar passages of TC-2 at the time of a moderate magnetic storm in September 2004, as well as bright ring current emissions recorded in November 2004 during a major geomagnetic storm, are presented and discussed in the context of various, accompanying, terrestrial disturbances. Also, ENA observations of the November 2004 ring current imaged simultaneously by TC-2/NUADU and by IMAGE/ HENA (viewing, respectively, from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres), are compared.