Articles | Volume 28, issue 1
20 Jan 2010
 | 20 Jan 2010

Electronic kinetics of molecular nitrogen and molecular oxygen in high-latitude lower thermosphere and mesosphere

A. S. Kirillov

Abstract. Total quenching rate coefficients of Herzberg states of molecular oxygen and three triplet states of molecular nitrogen in the collisions with O2 and N2 molecules are calculated on the basis of quantum-chemical approximations. The calculated rate coefficients of electronic quenching of O2* and N2* molecules show a good agreement with available experimental data. An influence of collisional processes on vibrational populations of electronically excited N2 and O2 molecules is studied for the altitudes of high-latitude lower thermosphere and mesosphere during auroral electron precipitation. It is indicated that molecular collisions of metastable nitrogen N2(A3Σu*) with O2 molecules are principal mechanism in electronic excitation of both Herzberg states c1Σu&minus, A'3Δu, A3Σu+ and high vibrational levels of singlet states a1Δg and b1Σg+ of molecular oxygen O2 at these altitudes.