Metallic ions in the equatorial ionosphere.

Journal of Geophysical Research (Impact Factor: 3.17). 03/1973; DOI: 10.1029/JA078i004p00734
Source: NTRS

ABSTRACT Four positive ion composition measurements of the equatorial E region at Thumba, India, are presented. During the day, the major ions between 90 and 125 km are NO+ and O2+. The relative concentrations are similar to those observed at midlatitudes but exhibit unusual structural behavior with altitude. A metallic ion layer centered at 92 km is found to contain Mg+, Fe+, Ca+, K+, Al+, Na+, and possibly Si+ ions. The layer is explained in terms of a similarly shaped altitude distribution of neutral atoms that are photoionized and charge exchanged with NO+ and O2+. Three-body reactions form molecular metallic ions that are rapidly lost by dissociative ion-electron recombination.

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