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Solar Control of the Upper Atmosphere of Triton

Lyons, James R. and Yung, Yuk L. and Allen, Mark (1992) Solar Control of the Upper Atmosphere of Triton. Science, 256 (5054). pp. 204-206. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.11540928.

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If the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of Triton are controlled by precipitation of electrons from Neptune's magnetosphere as previously proposed, Triton could have the only ionosphere in the solar system not controlled by solar radiation. However, a new model of Triton's atmosphere, in which only solar radiation is present, predicts a large column of carbon atoms. With an assumed, but reasonable, rate of charge transfer between N_2^+ and C, a peak C^+ abundance results that is close to the peak electron densities measured by Voyager in Triton's ionosphere. These results suggest that Triton's upper atmospheric chemistry may thus be solar-controlled. Measurement of key reaction rate constants, currently unknown or highly uncertain at Triton's low temperatures, would help to clarify the chemical and physical processes occurring in Triton's atmosphere.

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Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 1992 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 8 November 1991; Accepted 24 February 1992. We thank D. Strobel and R. Yelle for helpful discussion. This work was supported in part by National Aeronautics and Space Administration grants NAGW-1 509 and NAGW-2362 to the California Institute of Technology. Contribution 5054 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125.
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Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences5054
Issue or Number:5054
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140813-093857286
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Official Citation:Lyons, J. R., Yung, Y. L., & Allen, M. (1992). Solar Control of the Upper Atmosphere of Triton. Science, 256(5054), 204-206. doi: 10.2307/2876985
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48495
Deposited By: Joanne McCole
Deposited On:13 Aug 2014 19:57
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:32

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