Physics of the Aurora and Airglow

Physics of the Aurora and Airglow

International Geophysics Series, Vol. 2

1st Edition - January 1, 1961

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  • Author: Joseph W. Chamberlain
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483222530

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International Geophysics Series, Volume 2: Physics of the Aurora and Airglow explores certain physical aspects of aurora and airglow. This volume is composed of 13 chapters and begins with surveys of the theory and spectroscopic and photometric analyses of radiation from the upper atmosphere. The subsequent chapters treat the geographic distribution of aurora and its physical processes in the atmosphere. Other chapters examine the theory of hydrogen emission in aurora, resonance scattering by atmospheric sodium, the excitation of the oxygen red lines in the airglow, and an atlas of the auroral spectrum. A chapter focuses on the analysis of twilight observations for emission heights. The concluding chapters discuss the theory of day airglow, as well as the spectral photometry and excitation of the nightglow. This book is of value to geophysicists, theoreticians, and scientists of the allied fields of geophysics.

Table of Contents

  • Preface


    Chapter 1 Radiation in Spectral Lines

    1.1. Temperature and Thermal Equilibrium

    1.1.1. Maxwellian Distribution of Velocities.

    1.1.2. Spectroscopic Nomenclature.

    1.1.3. Boltzmann Excitation Equation.

    1.1.4. Doppler Line Broadening.

    1.2. The Classical Theory of Spectral Lines

    1:2.1. Classical Theory of Line Emission.

    1.2.2. Classical Theory of Line Absorption.

    1.3. Quantum Concepts of Spectral Lines

    1.3.1. Transition Probabilities.

    1.3.2. Line Strengths.

    1.3.3. f-values.

    1.3.4. Line Profiles.

    1.4. Molecular Bands

    1.4.1. Intensities of Electronic and Vibrational Bands.

    1.4.2. Intensities of Rotational Lines.

    1.5. Excitation and Ionization Processes

    1.5.1. Radiative Excitation, Ionization, and Recombination.

    1.5.2. Particle Collisions and Photochemical Reactions.

    Chapter 2 Scattering of Radiation in Finite Atmospheres

    2.1. Introduction

    2.1.1. Transfer Problems in the Physics of the Atmosphere.

    2.1.2. Definitions and Terminology.

    2.2. Equation of Radiative Transfer

    2.3. Applications of the Transfer Equation to Photometry

    2.3.1. Photometric Observations of Aurorae.

    2.3.2. Photometric Observations of the Airglow.

    2.4. The X- and Y-Functions in Problems of Radiative Transfer

    2.4.1. Formulation of the Transfer Problem with the Principles of Invariance.

    2.4.2. Solution for the S- and T-functions.

    2.5. Correction of Photometric Observations of the Airglow for Tropospheric Scattering

    2.5.1. Exact Solution for a Plane-Parallel Emitting Layer and Isotropic Scattering.

    2.5.2. Solution with Rayleigh Scattering.

    Chapter 3 Magnetic Fields, Charged Particles, and the Upper Atmosphere

    3.1. The Geomagnetic Field

    3.1.1. The Main Field.

    3.1.2. Magnetic Variations.

    3.2. Motions of Charged Particles in Electric and Magnetic Fields

    3.2.1. Uniform Magnetic Field.

    3.2.2. Uniform Electric and Magnetic Fields.

    3.2.3. Inhomogeneous Magnetic Field.

    3.2.4. Constancy of the Magnetic Moment: Adiabatic Invariance.

    3.3. Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves in an Ionized Atmosphere

    3.3.1. Maxwell's Equations.

    3.3.2. Propagation in the Absence of a Magnetic Field.

    3.4. The Ionosphere

    3.4.1. A Chapman Layer.

    3.4.2. Recombination Processes and Ion Formation in the Atmosphere.

    3.5. Model Atmospheres

    3.5.1. Basic Theory of Atmospheric Structure.

    3.5.2. Relative Abundances of the Major Constituents.

    3.5.3. Temperature Structure of the Atmosphere.

    Chapter 4 Occurrence of Aurorae in Space and Time

    4.1. Geographic Distribution and Periodic Variations

    4.1.1. Recording Auroral Occurrence and Appearance.

    4.1.2. Dependence on Geomagnetic Latitude: The Auroral Zones.

    4.1.3. Periodic Variations.

    4.2. Characteristics of Auroral Displays

    4.2.1. Appearance.

    4.2.2. Height and Vertical Extent.

    4.2.3. Orientations in Space.

    4.2.4. Auroral Activity.

    4.2.5. Synoptic View of Aurora.

    4.3. Aurorae and Related Phenomena

    4.3.1. Geomagnetic Activity and Earth Currents.

    4.3.2. Auroral Proton Bombardment.

    4.3.3. X-Radiation.

    4.3.4. Ionospheric Disturbances.

    4.3.5. Radio Emission.

    4.3.6. Cosmic Rays.

    4.3.7. Miscellaneous Terrestrial Effects Related to Aurora.

    4.3.8. Solar Phenomena.

    Chapter 5 Auroral Spectroscopy and Photometry

    5.1. Spectral Identifications

    5.1.1. An Atlas of the Auroral Spectrum.

    5.1.2. Forbidden Atomic Lines.

    5.1.3. Permitted Atomic Lines.

    5.1.4. Molecular Band Systems.

    5.2. Spectral Photometry of Aurora

    5.2.1. Absolute Brightness of Spectral Features.

    5.2.2. Latitude and Height Variations in the Composition of the Spectrum.

    5.2.3. Spectral Variations with Type of Aurora; Variations in the Hydrogen Emission.

    5.2.4. Rapid Fluctuations and Intensity Correlations.

    5.2.5. Polarization of Spectral Lines.

    5.2.6. Hydrogen-Line Profiles.

    .2.7. Rotational and Doppler Temperatures.

    5.2.8. Vibrational Distributions.

    Chapter 6 The Radio-Aurora

    6.1. Observed Characteristics

    6.1.1. Introduction: The Distinction between Aurora and Radio-Aurora.

    6.1.2. Types of Radar and Bistatic Echoes.

    6.1.3. Location of Radio-Aurorae.

    6.1.4. Periodic Variations.

    6.1.5. Apparent Motions of Auroral Ionization.

    6.1.6. Polarization.

    6.1.7. Aspect Sensitivity and Echo Strength.

    6.1.8. Relation to Other Phenomena.

    6.2. Theory of Auroral Reflections

    6.2.1. Geometry of Reflections.

    6.2.2. Critical and Partial Reflections from a Large Surface.

    6.2.3. Scattering by Small-Scale Inhomogeneities in the Ionization.

    6.2.4. Comparison of Reflection Mechanisms.

    Chapter 7 Physical Processes in the Auroral Atmosphere

    7.1. Proton Bombardment

    7.1.1. Statistical Equilibrium for Hydrogen.

    7.1.2. The Role of Protons in Producing Aurora.

    7.1.3. Hydrogen-Line Profiles and the Spectrum of Proton Energies.

    7.2. Electron Bombardment

    7.2.1. Bremsstrahlung X-Rays: Detection of Primary Electrons.

    7.2.2. Cerenkov Radiation at Radio Frequencies.

    7.2.3. Gyro Radiation.

    7.2.4. Properties of Primary Electrons and Their Energy Deposition in the Atmosphere.

    7.3. Atmospheric Electrons

    7.3.1. Secondary Electrons from Particle Bombardment.

    7.3.2. Other Mechanisms for Producing Energetic Atmospheric Electrons.

    7.3.3. Radio Emission.

    7.4. Theory of the Auroral Spectrum

    7.4.1. Fast Particle Impact.

    7.4.2. Thermal Collisions.

    7.4.3. Radiative Excitation.

    Chapter 8 Auroral Particles in Space

    8.1. Interplanetary Space

    8.1.1. Properties of the Interplanetary Gas.

    8.1.2. Transmission of Geophysical Disturbances and their Interaction with the Terrestrial Field.

    8.2. Auroral Particles in the Geomagnetic Field

    8.2.1. Detection and Artificial Production of Charged Particles.

    8.2.2. Questions Concerning the Geographic Location of Particle Bombardment.

    8.2.3. Questions Concerning the Energy Spectra and Angular Distribution of Auroral Particles.

    Chapter 9 The Airglow Spectrum

    9.1. Nightglow

    9.1.1. On the Distinction Between the Airglow and Aurora.

    9.1.2. Historical Summary of Early Work.

    9.1.3. The Ultraviolet and Blue Spectrum.

    9.1.4. The Green, Red, and Infrared Spectrum.

    9.2. Twilight and Day Airglow

    9.2.1. N2+ First Negative Bands.

    9.2.2. Na D Lines.

    9.2.3. [OI]21 Red Lines.

    9.2.4. Other Twilight Emissions.

    9.2.5. The Dayglow.

    Chapter 10 Analysis of Twilight Observations for Emission Heights

    10.1. Apparent Heights zs: The Shadow of the Solid Earth

    10.1.1. General Solutions for the Apparent Height.

    10.1.2. Solutions for the Vertical Plane Through the Sun.

    10.1.3. Approximate Solution for Horizon Observations.

    10.1.4. Computation of the Angle of Solar Depression and Solar Azimuth.

    10.1.5. Time of Sunset at a Particular Height and Direction from the Observer.

    10.2. Height Measurements with Atmospheric Screening

    10.2.1. Actual Shadow Height z0, for a Known Screening Height h0.

    10.2.2. The Zenith-Horizon Method of Height Determinations.

    10.2.3. Calculation of Transmission Function and Screening Height.

    10.3. Height and Vertical Distribution of Observed Emissions

    10.3.1. Ionized Nitrogen Bands.

    10.3.2. Sodium D Lines.

    10.3.3. Oxygen Red Lines.

    Chapter 11 Theory of the Twilight and Day Airglow

    11.1. Resonance Scattering and Fluorescence for an Optically Thin Layer

    11.1.1. Scattered Intensity with Allowance for Deactivation.

    11.1.2. Polarization of Resonance Radiation.

    11.2. Excitation of N2+ First Negative Bands

    11.2.1. Excitation Mechanisms.

    11.2.2. The Production of N2+ in the Ionosphere.

    11.2.3. Rotational Structure.

    11.3. Photon Scattering by Atmospheric Sodium

    11.3.1. Introduction: The Physical Theory and Approximations.

    11.3.2. Scattered Intensity of a Resonance Line from the Theory of Radiative Transfer for a Plane-Parallel Atmosphere.

    11.3.3. Twilight Airglow: The Na Abundance and Seasonal Variation.

    11.3.4. Day Airglow.

    11.4. Photochemistry and Ionization of Atmospheric Sodium

    11.4.1. Photochemistry.

    11.4.2. Ionization.

    11.4.3. Sodium Ejected from Rockets.

    11.5. Theory of the Oxygen Red Lines

    11.5.1. Resonance Scattering and Ultraviolet Dissociation.

    11.5.2. Collisional Deactivation.

    11.5.3. Dissociative Recombination.

    11.5.4. Dayglow in the Red Lines.

    11.6. Excitation of Other Emissions

    11.6.1. The [NI]21 Lines.

    11.6.2. O2 Infrared Atmospheric Band.

    11.6.3. Ca II H and K Lines.

    11.6.4. Li I Resonance Lines.

    11.6.5. Additional Emissions to be Expected.

    Chapter 12 Spectral Photometry of the Nightglow

    12.1. Methods of Height Determinations

    12.1.1. Fundamentals of the van Rhijn Method.

    12.1.2. Results of the van Rhijn Method.

    12.1.3. Difficulties with the van Rhijn Method.

    12.1.4. Height Measurements by Triangulation.

    12.1.5. Height Measurements by Rockets.

    12.1.6. Indirect Means of Deriving Heights.

    12.2. Spectroscopic Temperatures

    12.2.1. Rotational Temperatures.

    12.2.2. Doppler Temperatures.

    12.3. Intensities, Polarization, and Geographic and Time Variations

    12.3.1. Absolute Intensities and Polarization.

    12.3.2. Geographic and Periodic Variations of the Intensities.

    12.3.3. Spectral Correlations.

    12.3.4. Structure and Motion of Excitation Patterns.

    Chapter 13 Excitation of the Nightglow

    13.1. Introduction: Mechanisms of Nightglow Excitation

    13.2. Excitation by Recombination in the Ionosphere

    13.2.1. Review of Red-Line Excitation.

    13.2.2. Recombination and Diffusion of Ions in the Nighttime F Layer.

    13.2.3. Time Variations in the Red Lines Arising from Dissociative Recombination.

    13.2.4. Excitation of the [NI]21 Lines.

    13.3. Excitation by Particle Collisions

    13.3.1. Thermal Electrons.

    13.3.2. Extraterrestrial Particles and Other Nonthermal Collisions.

    13.3.3. Atomic and Molecular Thermal Collisions.

    13.4. Photochemical Reactions in an Oxygen-Nitrogen Atmosphere

    13.4.1. Excitation of O2 Band Systems.

    13.4.2. Photochemical Excitation of [OI].

    13.4.3. The Continuum and Unidentified Blue-Green Bands.

    13.4.4. Artificially Induced Airglow.

    13.4.5. Regular Variations in Intensity.

    13.4.6. Turbulence and Green-Line Patchiness.

    13.5. Excitation of Emissions from Minor Constituents

    13.5.1. Photochemical Origin of the Meinel OH Bands.

    13.5.2. Hydrogen Lines in the Night-Sky Spectrum.

    13.5.3. Photochemical Excitation of Sodium D Lines.


    Appendix I. A Table of Physical Constants

    Appendix II. The Rayleigh: A Photometric Unit for the Aurora and Airglow

    Appendix III. A Short List of Airglow-Aurora Observing Stations

    Appendix IV. Temperature, Density, and Composition of the Upper Atmosphere

    Appendix V. The Ionosphere

    Appendix VI. Forbidden Atomic Oxygen and Nitrogen Lines

    Appendix VII. Glossary of Symbols

    Appendix VIII. A List of Books and Review Articles on the Aurora and Airglow


    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 722
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1961
  • Published: January 1, 1961
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483222530

About the Author

Joseph W. Chamberlain

About the Editor

J. Van Mieghem

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Belgian Meteorological Institute, Uccle, Belgium

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