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Published March 1, 1968 | Published
Journal Article Open

On the Radio Occultation Method for Studying Planetary Atmospheres


The problem of determining the refractivity profile of a planetary atmosphere from optical or radio occultation data is identical in principle to the problem of determining the variation of seismic velocities in the earth from the observed travel times of seismic body waves. In either case, a complete set of data can be inverted uniquely, the only constraints being those fundamental to geometric optics. Expressions are given for converting observed Doppler shifts to the index of refraction as a function of depth in the atmosphere. The effect of various approximations on the analysis is discussed; it is found that a 'thin atmosphere' approximation simplifies the mathematics and preserves the singularity at the critical ray curvature.

Additional Information

© 1968 American Geophysical Union. Manuscript Received: 5 September 1967. The authors are indebted to G. Fjelbo for his discussion of the problem with the 'TYCHO' group. We wish to thank A. J. Kliore for his comments on the manuscript. This research was performed as part of the 1967 'TYCHO' Summer Study at Dartmouth College under NASA contract NSR-24-005-047 with the University of Montana.

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