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Mesospheric optical signatures of possible lightning on Venus

AutorPérez-Invernón, Francisco J.; Luque, Alejandro ; Gordillo Vázquez, Francisco J.
Palabras claveVenus
Optical emissions
Fecha de publicación23-jul-2016
EditorAmerican Geophysical Union
CitaciónJournal of Geophysical Research - Part A - Space Physics 121 (7): 7026-7048 (2016)
ResumenA self-consistent two-dimensional model is proposed to account for the transient mesospheric nighttime optical emissions associated to possible intracloud (IC) lightning occurring in the Venusian troposphere. The model calculates the mesospheric (between 75km and 120km in altitude) quasi-elestrostatic electric field and electron density produced in response to IC lightning activity located between 40km and 65km in the Venusian cloud layer. The optical signatures and the densities of perturbed excited atomic and molecular neutral and ionic species in the mesosphere of Venus are also calculated using a basic kinetic scheme. The calculations were performed for different IC lightning discharge properties. We found that the calculated electric fields in the mesosphere of Venus are above breakdown values and that, consequently, visible transient glows (similar to terrestrial Halos produced by lightning) right above the parent IC lightning are predicted. The transient optical emissions result from radiative deexcitation of excited electronic states of N-2 (in the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared ranges) and of O(S-1) and of O(D-1) in, respectively, the green (557nm) and red (630nm) wavelengths. The predicted transient lightning-induced glows from O(S-1) can reach an intensity higher than 167R and, consequently, be above the detection threshold of the Lightning and Airglow Camera instrument aboard the Japanese Akatsuki probe orbiting Venus since December 2015. However, according to our model, successful observations of transient lightning-induced optical glows could only be possible for sufficiently close (300km or maximum 1000km) distances.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JA022886
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