EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 482, Number 3, May II 2008
Page(s) 1015 - 1029
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20077503
Published online 11 March 2008

A&A 482, 1015-1029 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20077503

Modelling the Venusian airglow

G. Gronoff1, J. Lilensten1, C. Simon1, 2, M. Barthélemy1, F. Leblanc3, and O. Dutuit1

1  Laboratoire de Planétologie de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier - CNRS, France
    e-mail: guillaume.gronoff@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
2  Research and Scientific Support Department of ESA, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
3  Service d'aéronomie du CNRS/IPSL, Verrières-le-Buisson, France

(Received 19 March 2007 / Accepted 5 February 2008)

Context. Modelling of the Venusian ionosphere fluorescence is required, to analyse data being collected by the SPICAV instrument onboard Venus Express.
Aims. We present the modelling of the production of excited states of O, CO and N2, which enables the computation of nightglow emissions. In the dayside, we compute several emissions, taking advantage of the small influence of resonant scattering for forbidden transitions.
Methods. We compute photoionisation and photodissociation mechanisms, and the photoelectron production. We compute electron impact excitation and ionisation, through a multi-stream stationary kinetic transport code. Finally, we compute the ion recombination using a stationary chemical model.
Results. We predict altitude density profiles for O(1S) and O(1D) states, and emissions corresponding to their different transitions. They are found to agree with observations. In the nightside, we discuss the different O(1S) excitation mechanisms as a source of green line emission. We calculate production intensities of the O(3S) and O(5S) states. ForCO, we compute the Cameron bands and the Fourth Positive bands emissions. For N2, we compute the LBH, first and Second Positive bands. All values are compared successfully to experiments when data are available.
Conclusions. For the first time, a comprehensive model is proposed to compute dayglow and nightglow emissions of the Venusian upper atmosphere. It relies on previous works with noticeable improvements, both on the transport side and on the chemical side. In the near future, a radiative-transfer model will be used to compute optically-thick lines in the dayglow, and a fluid model will be added to compute ion densities.

Key words: planets and satellites: individual: Venus -- atmospheric effects -- Sun: UV radiation -- space vehicles: instruments

© ESO 2008

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