Dynamics of the Venus ionosphere: A two-dimensional model study

R. C. Whitten, P. T. McCormick, D. Merritt, K. W. Thompson, R. R. Brynsvold, C. J. Eich, W. C. Knudsen, K. L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-dimensional model of the ionosphere of Venus which simulates ionospheric dynamics by self-consistently solving the plasma equations of motion, including the inertial term, in finite difference form has been constructed. The model, which is applied over the solar zenith angle range extending from 60 to 140° and the altitude range 100 to 480 km, simulates the measured horizontal velocity field quite satisfactorily. The ion density field is somewhat overestimated on the dayside because of the choice model neutral atmosphere and underestimated on the nightside because of setting the ionopause height at too low an altitude. It is concluded that solar photoionization on the dayside and ion recombination on the nightside are the processes mainly responsible for accelerating the plasma to the observed velocities. The plasma flow appears to be sufficient to maintain the nightside ionosphere at or near the observed median level of ion densities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalIcarus
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1984

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