Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 11839-11859, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
The observation of chemiluminescent NiO* emissions in the laboratory and in the night airglow
W. F. J. Evans1,2, R. L. Gattinger3, A. L. Broadfoot4, and E. J. Llewellyn3
1NorthWest Research Associates Inc., 4118 148 Avenue N.E., Redmond WA 98052, USA
2Centre for Research in Experimental Space Science, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
3ISAS, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, 116 Science Place, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK S7N 5E2, Canada
4Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Blvd., Tucson AZ 85721-0092, USA

Abstract. The recent finding of an orange spectral feature in OSIRIS/Odin spectra of the night airglow near 85 km has raised interest in the origin of the emission. The feature was positively identified as the chemiluminescent FeO* emission where the iron is of meteoric origin. Since the meteorite source of atomic metals in the mesosphere contains both iron and nickel, with Ni being typically 6% of Fe, it is expected that faint emissions involving Ni should also be present in the night airglow. The present study summarizes the laboratory observations of chemiluminescent NiO* emissions and includes a search for the NiO* signature in the night airglow. A faint previously unidentified "continuum" extending longwave of 440 nm has been identified in night airglow spectra obtained with two space-borne limb viewing instruments and through a comparison with laboratory spectra this continuum is identified as arising from the NiO* emission. The FeO* and NiO* emissions both originate from a reaction of the metal atoms with mesospheric ozone and so support the presence of NiO* in the night airglow.

Citation: Evans, W. F. J., Gattinger, R. L., Broadfoot, A. L., and Llewellyn, E. J.: The observation of chemiluminescent NiO* emissions in the laboratory and in the night airglow, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 11839-11859, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-11839-2011, 2011.
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