[en] aurora ; electron precipitation ; high latitude ; interplanetary magnetic field ; ionosphere ; acceleration
[en]  The FUV instrument on the IMAGE spacecraft frequently observes intense ultraviolet (UV) emission from a localized dayside region poleward of the general auroral oval location. One type of these emissions has been described as the signature of direct proton precipitation into the cusp after lobe reconnection during northward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) and high solar wind dynamic pressure periods [Frey et al., 2002]. Here we describe a completely different type of high latitude aurora, which does not show any signature of precipitating protons. It also occurs during northward IMF conditions however, only during periods of very low solar wind dynamic pressure. It occurs at a much higher geomagnetic latitude than the normal cusp location and only during periods of positive IMF By. The intensity of the UV emission is somewhat anti-correlated with the solar wind dynamic pressure, much in contrast to the cusp emission. The brightness of the localized emission changes rapidly on time scales between 30 and 70 minutes without corresponding changes in solar wind properties. Coincident measurements by the FAST spacecraft verify that this is not the cusp, that ion precipitation is absent in these regions, and that strong precipitation of field-aligned accelerated electrons causes the aurora. We interpret this aurora as the optical signature of electron precipitation in the upward leg of a current system which closes the downward leg of the current system into the cusp in the ionosphere.