Michelson Interferometer for Global High-Resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) On-Orbit Wind Observations: Data Analysis and Instrument Performance

Christoph R. Englert, John M. Harlander, Kenneth D. Marr, Brian J. Harding, Jonathan J. Makela, Tori Fae, Charles M. Brown, M. Venkat Ratnam, S. Vijaya Bhaskara Rao, Thomas J. Immel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The design, principles of operation, calibration, and data analysis approaches of the Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) on the NASA Ionospheric Connection (ICON) satellite have been documented prior to the ICON launch. Here we update and expand on the MIGHTI wind data analysis and discuss the on-orbit instrument performance. In particular, we show typical raw data and we describe key processing steps, including the correction of a “signal-intensity dependent phase shift,” which is necessitated by unexpected detector behavior. We describe a new zero-wind calibration approach that is preferred over the originally planned approach due to its higher precision. Similar to the original approach, the new approach is independent of any a priori data. A detailed update on the wind uncertainties is provided and compared to the mission requirements, showing that MIGHTI has met the ICON mission requirements. While MIGHTI observations are not required to produce absolute airglow brightness profiles, we describe a relative brightness profile product, which is included in the published data. We briefly review the spatial resolution of the MIGHTI wind data in addition to the data coverage and data gaps that occurred during the nominal mission. Finally, we include comparisons of the MIGHTI wind data with ground-based Fabry-Perot interferometer observations and meteor radar observations, updating previous studies with more recent data, again showing good agreement. The data processing steps covered in this work and all the derived wind data correspond to the MIGHTI data release Version 5 (v05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • ICON Explorer mission
  • Limb sounding
  • Spatial Heterodyne Spectroscopy
  • Thermospheric wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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