Airglow emissions and oxygen mixing ratios from the photometer experiment on the Turbulent Oxygen Mixing Experiment (TOMEX)

Academic Article


  • The Turbulent Oxygen Mixing Experiment (TOMEX) combined Na lidar measurements from Starfire Optical Range in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a launch of a payload from White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), located a little over 100 km from Starfire. The payload included a trmethyl aluminum release to measure winds and diffusion, a 5‐channel ionization gauge to measure neutral densities, and a 3‐channel photometer experiment to measure atomic oxygen related airglow. The payload was launched at 0957 UT on 26 October 2000 and successfully obtained data from all the experiments. The photometer experiment consisted of three liquid nitrogen cooled filter photometers which measured emission from the O2 atmospheric band (0, 0) emission, the OH Meinel (9, 4) band, and the OI(557.7 nm) greenline. Measurements were made as the rocket went from 80 to 110 km on the upleg. The pointing of the photometers was within a few degrees of zenith. Differentiating these data allowed volume emission rates to be derived which can be inverted to form atomic oxygen density profiles. The interpretation of the data made use of simultaneous atmospheric temperature data from the Na lidar. The airglow data showed lower brightness values and lower peak altitudes for the O2 atmospheric (0, 0) band and OI(557.7 nm) emissions than predicted by the thermosphere/ionosphere/mesopshere/electrodynamics general circulation (TIME‐GCM) model. The peak altitude of the OH Meinel emission seemed nominal. Inverting the O2 atmospheric (0, 0) and OI(557.7 nm) data following McDade et al. [1986] produced O density profiles whose peak densities and peak altitudes are lower than the model values. The shape of the O density profile is also more constant with altitude than model predictions. The O mixing ratio shows a more altitude‐independent profile than given by the model, especially between 85 and 95 km. Significant deviations in the measured shape of the mixing ratio also occur at 90, 97, and 102 km. The interpretation of these data is that the O mixing ratio was significantly perturbed by the passage of an atmospheric gravity wave or tide and the subsequent convective or dynamical instabilities produced by that wave. Dynamically or convectively unstable layers at 90, 97, and 102 km at the time of the launch also appear to be reflected in the mixing ratio data.
  • Authors

  • Hecht, JH
  • Liu, AZ
  • Walterscheid, RL
  • Roble, RG
  • Larsen, MF
  • Clemmons, James
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 23, 2004
  • Keywords

  • airglow
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 109
  • Issue

  • D2