Observations of atomic deuterium in the mesosphere from ATLAS 1 with ALAE Instrument
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During the first ATLAS mission, the ALAE Lyman α spectrophotometer collected various measurements of hydrogen and deuterium atoms, from the mesosphere, the thermosphere, the exosphere and the interplanetary medium. In this paper is presented a preliminary analysis of some observations of atomic deuterium, which Lyman α emission is excited by resonance scattering of solar photons. Nadir measurements along the sunlit Earth part of the orbit show that the emission changes as a function of solar zenith angle. Comparison with a simple model shows that, from the shuttle altitude of 300 km and at low solar zenith angles, the line‐of‐sight probes atomic deuterium down to 80 km of altitude (where O2 absorption is complete), whereas at angles from 60° to 90°, the mesospheric part of the emission progressively vanishes. Then, the remaining emission mainly consist of the thermospheric part (z ≥ 100 km). This type of observations provides a sounding of atomic deuterium at its peak production and concentration, and D atoms can be used as a proxy to H atoms (which cannot be observed from a satellite) in this particularly active region of the mesosphere.
CitationBertaux, J.‐L.; Quémerais, E.; Goutail, F.; Kockarts, G.; Sandel, B. (1993). Observations of atomic deuterium in the mesosphere from ATLAS 1 with ALAE Instrument. , Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 20, Issue 6, 507-510, DOI: 10.1029/93GL00077.