Letter | Published:

Yellow–Green Luminosity accompanying the Injection of Triethylborane into the Upper Atmosphere

Naturevolume 214pages158159 (1967) | Download Citation



VALUABLE information about the state and motion of the upper atmosphere can be obtained by the release of various rocket-borne materials which emit light on reaction with the gaseous surroundings at high altitudes. Previously, experimenters have produced luminous clouds by injecting materials such as sodium (ref. 1 and unpublished results of Smith), nitric oxide2,3, aluminium2,4,5 and trimethyl aluminium (TMA) (refs. 6 and 7 and unpublished results of Hoffman and Smith) into the atmosphere at altitudes above 80 km, either at night or during twilight. Injections of aluminium and TMA at twilight have been particularly fruitful because it has been possible to record well resolved spectra of the bluish-green light emitted by AlO molecules formed in the presence of sunlight. Analyses of the spectra have provided estimates of the vibration al temperatures of the gases in the upper atmosphere5.

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  1. Sandia Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    • J. M. HOFFMAN
    • , L. S. NELSON
    •  & L. B. SMITH


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