By H.S.W. Massey (Eds.)

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For applications to the thermosphere under conditions in which there are no significant relative drift motions between the ions and neutral gas atoms, the appropriate reaction rate will be given by (29), with f(v) = 4n-1/2y3,2v2Qxp(-yv2l (30a) H. S. W. Massey 48 where ,M, M. eff " M;Mn ' (30b) Tj, Tn being the respective temperatures of the ions and gas atoms, and Mj, M n their masses. St. 7, (31a) = ( 2 . 7^x^20, (31b) x being written for Teff/300. This is shown in Fig. 9. For the reactions (28b,c), the variation of the cross section with velocity over the range of importance is considerably less, but in both cases the same procedure was applied successfully by Albritton et al.

If N atoms were formed only by photodissociation and lost through reaction (14), the ratio [ N ] / [ N 2 ] = p/fc[0 2 ], where p is the rate of production of N per molecule of N 2 , and k the rate coefficient [Eq. (16)]. With p = 10~ 7 s - 1 and k=U xl0-19m3s-\ [ N ] / [ N 2 ] = 1 when [Q 2 ] = 6 x 10 11 m" 3 . Referring to the reference atmosphere in Table I, Chapter 2 this would be at an altitude above 400 km. This is quite close to the observed results from Atmosphere Explorer C using the mass spectrometer technique described earlier (Section II).

We shall be dealing in the remainder of this chapter with the ionosphere above the E region, in the thermosphere. An account of the E region formation is given in Section IV of Chapter 5. Before beginning a detailed discussion of the various reactions which determine the behavior of the F : region in daytime, we must first insert a brief account of the reasons why oxygen is mainly atomic throughout the 36 H. S. W. Massey thermosphere whereas atomic nitrogen only becomes important at high altitudes.

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