OBSERVATIONS ON THE RELEASE OF A CLOUD OF BARIUM ATOMS AND IONS IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE.
Environmental research papers no. 268,
AIR FORCE CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH LABS L G HANSCOM FIELD MASS
Pagination or Media Count:
The paper presents the results of observations on a series of releases of barium neutral atoms and ions in the upper atmosphere. One release, at 195 km, is discussed in detail. Because of the effect of winds and the earths magnetic field on the ionized cloud, the neutral and ionized clouds drifted apart. The diffusion and descent of the neutral cloud allowed estimates of the atmospheric density and scale height to be made the ratio of the ambipolar diffusion to the neutral diffusion coefficient of the ionized cloud yields the temperature of the atmospheric electrons. These values agree very well with the COSPAR International Reference Atmosphere. The observed drift and descent of the ionized cloud can be explained satisfactorily only if there is an electric field in the atmosphere of 1.1 x 10-3 volts m-1. The ambipolar diffusion perpendicular to the earths magnetic field was much faster than predicted from molecular diffusion theory, and could be due to a Bohm diffusion caused by plasma instabilities. Author
- Atmospheric Physics