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Direct detection of atomic oxygen on the dayside and nightside of Venus

  • Atomic oxygen is a key species in the mesosphere and thermosphere of Venus. It peaks in the transition region between the two dominant atmospheric circulation patterns, the retrograde super-rotating zonal flow below 70 km and the subsolar to antisolar flow above 120 km altitude. However, past and current detection methods are indirect and based on measurements of other molecules in combination with photochemical models. Here, we show direct detection of atomic oxygen on the dayside as well as on the nightside of Venus by measuring its ground-state transition at 4.74 THz (63.2 µm). The atomic oxygen is concentrated at altitudes around 100 km with a maximum column density on the dayside where it is generated by photolysis of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. This method enables detailed investigations of the Venusian atmosphere in the region between the two atmospheric circulation patterns in support of future space missions to Venus.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Heinz-Wilhelm Hübers, Heiko Richter, Urs U. Graf, Rolf Güsten, Bernd Klein, Jürgen Stutzki, Helmut Wiesemeyer
Parent Title (English):Nature Communications
Article Number:6812
Number of pages:7
Publisher:Springer Nature
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2023/11/07
Copyright:© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Ingenieurwissenschaften und Kommunikation
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 52 Astronomie / 520 Astronomie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Entry in this database:2023/11/13
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International