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Title: Ionization of the venusian atmosphere from solar and galactic cosmic rays
Authors: Nordheim, T. A.
Dartnell, L. R.
Desorgher, L.
Coates, A. J.
Jones, G. H.
First Published: 23-Sep-2014
Publisher: Elsevier for Academic Press
Citation: Icarus, 2015, 245, pp. 80-86 (7)
Abstract: The atmospheres of the terrestrial planets are exposed to solar and galactic cosmic rays, the most energetic of which are capable of affecting deep atmospheric layers through extensive nuclear and electromagnetic particle cascades. In the venusian atmosphere, cosmic rays are expected to be the dominant ionization source below ∼100 km altitude. While previous studies have considered the effect of cosmic ray ionization using approximate transport methods, we have for the first time performed full 3D Monte Carlo modeling of cosmic ray interaction with the venusian atmosphere, including the contribution of high-Z cosmic ray ions (Z = 1–28). Our predictions are similar to those of previous studies at the ionization peak near 63 km altitude, but are significantly different to these both above and below this altitude. The rate of atmospheric ionization is a fundamental atmospheric property and the results of this study have wide-reaching applications in topics including atmospheric electrical processes, cloud microphysics and atmospheric chemistry.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.032
ISSN: 0019-1035
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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