Nature 144, 152-152 (22 July 1939) | doi:10.1038/144152a0

Nitric Oxide in the Earth's Upper Atmosphere



THE failure to observe nitric oxide bands in the auroral spectrum or in that of the light of the night sky has long been a puzzle to me. One of the most conspicuous characteristics of nitrogen afterglow spectra is the intense excitation of the β- and γ-systems of NO in active nitrogen even in the presence of only a trace of oxygen. Of these two systems, the β-bands are the more intense, and the strongest members lie on the long wave-length side of the great Hartley absorption band of ozone. The γ-system lies on the short wave-length side. This description is significant for the interpretation of the experiments which will be described below.



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  2. Compton, A. H., Schem, M., and Gill, P. S., Science, 89, 3938 (1939).