36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 39 Mercury, Moon, and Venus
Poster II, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 4:15-7:00pm, Exhibition Hall 1A

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[39.23] Solution to a Nightglow Mystery of the 1950ís: A Tribute to Joe Chamberlain

T. G. Slanger (SRI International)

In the 1950ís, Joseph Chamberlain published two papers on the blue and UV nightglow, showing for the first time the presence of the O2(\textit{A'}3\Deltau(\Omega=3) -- \textit{a}1\Deltag) system which now bears his name.[\textit{Chamberlain}, 1955; \textit{Chamberlain}, 1958] At the same time, he cataloged many features in the 3900--4900 Å\ region, which he tried to attribute to various Herzberg I and Chamberlain bands, although all were quite weak. Recent studies using sky spectra from HIRES/Keck I and UVES/VLT[\textit{Hanuschik}, 2003] show these same features, which have now been identified as lines of the previously unknown O2(\textit{c}1\Sigmau---\textit{b}1\Sigmag+) system.[\textit{Slanger et al.}, 2003] Because of the spectroscopic characteristics of the \textit{c-b} bands, the lines are quite widely spaced, and appear atomic. With the sensitivity of the echelle spectrographs on the two telescopes, the lines are relatively intense at high resolution, and dominate the 4100--4300 Å\ region; at least fifty can be identified throughout the blue region. Emission from the O2(\textit{c}1\Sigmau-) state, in the Herzberg II \textit{c-X} transition, is the predominant source of radiation in the visible Venus nightglow, while the present results indicate that in the terrestrial atmosphere, the \textit{c-b} emission is the more discernible. The key to understanding this difference is the O2(\textit{c}1\Sigmau-) vibrational distribution in the two environments.

This work has been supported by grants from NSF Aeronomy and NSF Astronomy.

Chamberlain, J.W., The Ultraviolet Airglow Spectrum, \textit{Astrophys. J., 123}, 277--286, 1955. Chamberlain, J.W., The Blue Airglow Spectrum, \textit{Astrophys. J.}, 128, 713--717, 1958. Hanuschik, R.W., A Flux-Calibrated High-Resolution Atlas of Optical Sky Emission from UVES, \textit{Astron. Astrophys., 407}, 1157--1164, 2003. Slanger, T.G., P.C. Cosby, and D.L. Huestis, A New O2 Band System: The \textit{c}1\Sigmau---\textit{b}1\Sigmag+ Transition in the Terrestrial Nightglow, \textit{J. Geophys. Res., 108} (A2), 1089, doi:10.1029/2002JA009677, 2003.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.