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Radio occultation studies of the Venus atmosphere with the Magellan spacecraft. 2: Results from the October 1991 experimentsOn October 5 and 6, 1991, three dual-frequency ingress radio occultation experiments were conducted at Venus during consecutive orbits of the Magellan spacecraft. The radio signals probed a region of the atmosphere near 65 deg N, with a solar zenith angle of 108 deg, reaching below 35 km at 3.6 cm, and below 34 km at 13 cm (above a mean radius of 6052 km). The high effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of the Magellan spacecraft and highly successful attitude maneuvers allowed these signals to probe deeper than any previous radio occultation experiment and also resulted in the most accurate thermal and sulfuric acid vapor abundance profiles ever obtained at Venus through radio occultation techniques. The performance of the spacecraft and the experiment design are discussed in an accompanying paper. Average electron density profiles retrieved from the data possess peaks between 2600 and 6000/cu cm, well below typical values of 10,000/cu cm retrieved in 1979 by Pioneer Venus at similar solar zenith angles. Other basic results include vertical profiles of temperature, pressure, and density in the neutral atmosphere, 13- and 3.6-cm absorpttivity, and H2SO4 (g) abundance below the main cloud layer. H2SO4 (g) becomes significant below 50 km, reaching peaks between 18 and 24 ppm near 39 km before dropping precipitously below 38 km. These sharp decreases confirm the thermal decomposition of sulfuric acid vapor below 39 km. Since the Venus atmosphere rotated approximately 10 deg between experiments, the data contain information about the horizontal variability of the atmosphere. All derived profiles exhibit significant variations from orbit to orbit, indicating the presence of dynamical processes between 33 and 200 km. In particular, the orbit-to-orbit variations in temperature and in H2SO4 (g) abundance appear to be correlated, suggesting that a common mechanism may be responsible for the observed spatial variations.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Jenkins, Jon M.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Steffes, Paul G.
(Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA United States)
Hinson, David P.
(Stanford University Stanford, CA, United States)
Twicken, Joseph D.
(Stanford University Stanford, CA, United States)
Tyler, G. Leonard
(Stanford University Stanford, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Icarus
Volume: 110
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0019-1035
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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