This enhancement was discovered by Edward Appleton in 1946. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
This is a visualization of the Equatorial Fountain process in the ionosphere, whereby ions are driven away from the equator forming ion density enhancements to the north and south of the equator. Ions are just positive and negative charged particles.
This visualization is depicted near 50 degrees west longitude, where the magnetic equator crosses the geographic equator. (Yellow Warrior Time Portal?) Magnetic field lines near Earth are represented by the gold lines. Particles appear in a blue-white flash, representing the point where atoms are ionized, becoming positively charged (a proton) and releasing an electron (negative charge).
Now these charged particles can ‘feel’ the near-Earth electric and magnetic fields. Their motion becomes a combination of circular gyromotion due to the magnetic field and E-cross-B drift. At higher altitudes, the electric field is weaker, reducing the vertical motion, and the ion motion becomes dominated by the magnetic field and gravity, allowing the ion to ‘slide’ down the magnetic field line back to Earth.
At lower altitudes, the ions combine with free electrons in a process called recombination, represented by a red flash and fading of the particle trail. A slice of data from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere) model represents the density of singly-ionized oxygen atoms is faded-in to compare to the particle motion. Red represents high ion density, green represents low ion density.
The camera finally pulls out from Earth, providing an overview of the enhanced ion density (red) above and below the magnetic equator on the dayside of Earth.