Emission and dissociation of molecular nitrogen in the earth's atmosphere
01 / 2000 - unknown
The middle and upper atmosphere may reveal its secrets by atoms and molecules that spontaneously emit radiation that can be detected with satellite instruments, balloons or on the ground in the case of visible radiation. This emission contains information on the composition, the temperature and the density of important species. In this area of research, our databases are highly incomplete. In the case of nitrogen many electronic states have not been discovered or have not been characterized. States that may be formed upon electron or photon impact on nitrogen gas in the atmosphere. In the case of the red and green oxygen atom airglow, electron collisions on molecular oxygen positive ions are important at elevated altitudes. Using technology developed at the FOM-Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics and applied at the heavy ion storage ring CRYRING in Stockholm, electron collisions have been measured under circumstances simulating our upper atmosphere, concentrating in the last year at the effects of non-local thermal equilibrium; how does the airglow change if excited molecular ions are present in the atmosphere. The limb measurements from SCIAMACHY may be a tool for routine observations of airglow emissions.
Laboratory studies of molecular oxygen and nitric oxide will be finalized and it will be attempted to check the information content of SCIAMACHY on this aspect.