Articles | Volume 37, issue 4
Regular paper
02 Jul 2019
Regular paper |  | 02 Jul 2019

Mercury's subsolar sodium exosphere: an ab initio calculation to interpret MASCS/UVVS observations from MESSENGER

Diana Gamborino, Audrey Vorburger, and Peter Wurz

Data sets

Mercury's seasonal sodium exosphere: MESSENGER orbital observations T. A. Cassidy, A. W. Merkel, M. H. Burger, M. Sarantos, R. M. Killen, W. E. McClintock, and R. J. Vervack

Short summary
We propose that the temperature of the Na exosphere of Mercury near the subsolar point is not at high as proposed in previous works. Using a numerical model and the appropriate energy distributions for each release mechanism, we can explain observations made by MESSENGER in April 2012. Our results show that close to the surface, the dominant release mechanism for Na is evaporation due to the solar irradiation, and at high altitudes the best candidate is the release by micro-meteoroid impacts.