Atmospheres in the Solar System: Comparative Aeronomy by Michael Mendillo, Andrew Nagy, J. H. Waite Jr.

By Michael Mendillo, Andrew Nagy, J. H. Waite Jr.

Published by way of the yank Geophysical Union as a part of the Geophysical Monograph Series.

Atmospheres are an important parts of our universe. they're the single observable areas of stars and massive planets, either inside of and past our sun method. a few terrestrial-size our bodies (Venus, Earth, Mars, Titan and Triton) have everlasting atmospheres whereas others (e.g., Mercury, Moon, Io, and Europa) have tenuous gaseous envelopes that fluctuate day-by-day. Comets are tiny our bodies by means of planetary yardsticks, yet their atmospheres might be the biggest noticeable items within the evening sky. Atmospheric technology strives to appreciate how this kind of varied set of atmospheres shape, evolve, and disappear.


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We divide t h e m into three groups: 1) magnetospheric input at low latitudes, 2) t r a n s p o r t of auroral energy to low latitude, and 3) heating by gravity waves. Usually, magnetospheric energy carried by precipi­ t a t i n g charged particles is deposited only at high lat­ itudes in the auroral zones. On E a r t h , for example, relatively little magnetospheric energy couples directly into low latitude regions. Yet, mechanisms do exist for this to happen. Waite et al. [1997] suggested t h a t t h e diffusion of energetic charged particles across magne­ tospheric L shells until they were eventually absorbed by the atmosphere could explain observations of x-ray emissions from Jupiter's equatorial atmosphere.

This is accomplished by t h e non-thermal escape of high-velocity O fragments pro­ duced during electron recombination of ionospheric O j or solar wind induced sputtering. T h e regulation of the H and O escape is maintained t h r o u g h photochem­ 2 2 2 - i . 0 x 1 0 - e n a t m where CI is provided by photolysis of HC1 at altitudes of 60-80 km. Thermochemical equilibrium governs t h e dense a n d hot venusian atmosphere from ground level t o t h e sul­ furic acid cloud tops at z ~ 60 km. 0 x I O " 4 + 2 H 0 -> 2 H S 0 2 2 e - 1 0 0 °/ T 1 3 4 2 2 2 2 This process also accounts for t h e extremely low abun­ dance of 0 in t h e atmosphere of Venus [cf.

F ^ and F^ are defined by Matcheva and Strobel [1999]. The net wave heating is negative at high altitudes, above the location where the waves reach their maximum altitude. their formulation, Matcheva and Strobel [1999] find t h a t waves with t h e characteristics derived by Young et al [1997] do not heat t h e jovian thermosphere t o t h e ob­ served levels, though they are still energetically impor­ tant. Both Young et al. [1997] a n d Matcheva and Strobel [1999] based their calculations on t h e W K B approxi­ mation for wave propagation.

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