Letter | Published:

New route for the quenching of N2(A3Σu+) in the aurora?

Naturevolume 247pages540541 (1974) | Download Citation



THE volume production rate of N2(A3Σu+) in the aurora, as estimated from the observed emission rates in the N2 first positive and second positive systems1, is an order of magnitude greater than the observed emission rate2 in the Vergard-Kaplan system3 (A3σu+ − X1σg+). This implies a high rate of quenching by other species present in the auroral region. The most prominent species at the appropriate altitudes (>100 km) are N2, O2, N, O and NO (ref. 4). Detailed analysis of the quenching rate has led to the prediction that collision with O atoms makes a major contribution to the quenching process. However such quenching in the aurora would have to proceed1 with an efficiency one or two orders of magnitude greater than observed in the laboratory5,6 in order to account for the observed V-K intensities.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Shemansky, D. E., Zipf, E. C., and Donahue, T. M., Planet. Space Sci., 19, 1669 (1971).

  2. 2

    Sharp, W. E., J. geophys, Res., 76, 987 (1971).

  3. 3

    Anketell, J., and Nicholls, R. W., Rep. Prog. Phys. 33, 269 (1970).

  4. 4

    Zipf, C. E., Borst, W. L., and Donahue, T. M., J. geophys. Res., 75, 6371 (1970).

  5. 5

    Meyer, J. A., Setser, D. W., and Stadman, D. H., Astrophys. J. 157, 1023 (1969).

  6. 6

    Young, R. A., Black, G., and Slanger, T. G., J. chem. Phys., 50, 303 (1969).

  7. 7

    Offerman, D., and Von Zahn, U., Trans. Am. geophys. Union, 52, 292 (1971).

  8. 8

    Noxon, J. F., J. chem. Phys., 36, 926 (1962).

  9. 9

    Offerman, D., and Von Zahn, U., J. geophys. Res., 76, 2520 (1971).

  10. 10

    Schutz, K., Junge, C., Beck, R., and Albrecht, B., J. geophys. Res., 75, 2230 (1970).

  11. 11

    Lin, C., and Kaufman, F., J. chem. Phys., 55, 3760 (1971).

  12. 12

    Fishburne, E., and Edse, R., J. chem. Phys. 44, 515 (1966).

  13. 13

    Kaufman, F., Gerri, N., and Bowman, R., J. chem. Phys., 25, 106 (1956).

  14. 14

    Donovan, R. J., and Husain, D., Chem. Rev., 70, 489 (1970).

  15. 15

    Chamberlain, J. W., Physics of the Aurora and Airglow (Academic Press, New York, 1971).

Download references

Author information


  1. University Chemical Laboratory, Canterbury, Kent



  1. Search for D. J. MALCOLME-LAWES in:

About this article

Publication history


Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.