Volume 624, April 2019
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||24 April 2019|
Revisiting the cosmic-ray induced Venusian ionization with the Atmospheric Radiation Interaction Simulator (AtRIS)
Institut für Experimentelle and Angewandte Physik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU),
24118 Kiel, Germany
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Accepted: 4 March 2019
Context. Cosmic ray bombardment represents a major source of ionization in planetary atmospheres. The higher the energy of the primary cosmic ray particles, the deeper they can penetrate into the atmosphere. In addition, incident high energy cosmic ray particles induce extensive secondary particle cascades (“air showers”) that can contain up to several billion secondary particles per incoming primary particle. To quantify cosmic ray-induced effects on planetary atmospheres it is therefore important to accurately model the entire secondary particle cascade. This is particularly important in thick planetary atmospheres where the secondary particle cascades can develop extensively before being absorbed by the surface.
Aims. Inside the Venusian atmosphere, cosmic rays are the dominant driver for the ionization below an altitude of ~100 km. In this work we revisit the numerical modeling of the galactic and solar cosmic-ray induced atmospheric ionization for cosmic ray ions from Hydrogen (Z = 1) to Nickel (Z = 28) and investigate the influence of strong solar energetic particle events inside the Venusian atmosphere.
Methods. The Atmospheric Radiation Interaction Simulator (AtRIS), a newly developed simulation code to model the interaction of the near-(exo)planet particle and radiation field with the (exo)planetary atmosphere, was used to revisit the modeling of the altitude-dependent Venusian atmospheric ionization. Thereby, spherical geometry, the newest version of Geant4 (10.5) as well as the newest Geant4-based hadronic and electromagnetic interaction models were utilized.
Results. Based on our new model approach we show that previous studies may have underestimated the galactic cosmic ray-induced atmospheric ion pair production by, amongst others, underestimating the influence of galactic cosmic ray protons above 1 TeV/nuc. Furthermore, we study the influence of 71 exceptionally strong solar particle events that were measured as Ground Level Enhancements at the Earth’s surface, and show a detailed analysis of the impact of such strong events on the Venusian ionization.
Key words: Sun: activity / planets and satellites: terrestrial planets / planets and satellites: atmospheres
© ESO 2019
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