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Title: Pioneer Venus orbiter search for Venusian lightning

Abstract

During the 1988 and 1990, the star sensor aboard the Pioneer Venus orbiter (PVO) was used to search for optical pulses from lightning on the nightside of Venus. Useful data were obtained for 53 orbits in 1988 and 55 orbits in 1990. During this period, approximately 83 s of search time plus 7749 s of control data were obtained. The results again find no optical evidence for lightning activity. With the region that was observed during 1988, the results imply that the upper bound to short-duration flashes is 4 {times} 10{sup {minus}7} flashes/km{sup 2}/s for flashes that are at least 50% as bright as typical terrestrial lightning. During 1990, when the 2-Hz filter was used, the results imply an upper bound of 1 {times} 10{sup {minus}7} flashes/km{sup 2}/s for long-duration flashes at least 1.6% as bright as typical terrestrial lightning flashes or 33% as bright as the pulses observed by the Venera 9. The upper bounds to the flash rates for the 1988 and 1990 searches are twice and one half the global terrestrial rate, respectively. These two searches covered the region from 60{degrees}N latitude to 30{degrees}S latitude, 250{degrees} to 350{degrees} longitude, and the region from 45{degrees}N latitude to 55{degrees}Smore » latitude, 155{degrees} to 300{degrees} longitude. Both searches sampled much of the nightside region from the dawn terminator to within 4 hours of the dusk terminator. These searches covered a much larger latitude range than any previous search. The results show that the Beat and Phoebe Regio areas previously identified by Russell et al. (1988) as areas with high rates of lightning activity were not active during the two seasons of the observations. When the authors assume that their upper bounds to the nightside flash rate are representative of the entire planet, the results imply that the global flash rate and energy dissipation rate derived by Krasnopol'sky (1983) from his observation of a single storm are too high.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [2]
  1. (NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (USA))
  2. (SETI Inst., Mountain View, CA (USA))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5316997
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 96:A7; Journal ID: ISSN 0148-0227
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES; LIGHTNING; VENUS PLANET; ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY; CHEMICAL COMPOSITION; DETECTION; ELECTRODYNAMICS; ENERGY LOSSES; GASES; LIMITING VALUES; MOLECULES; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; OXYGEN; PIONEER SPACE PROBES; RADIOWAVE RADIATION; TRACE AMOUNTS; VISIBLE RADIATION; ATMOSPHERES; CHEMISTRY; ELECTRIC DISCHARGES; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; ELEMENTS; FLUIDS; LOSSES; NONMETALS; PLANETS; RADIATIONS; SPACE VEHICLES; VEHICLES; 640107* - Astrophysics & Cosmology- Planetary Phenomena

Citation Formats

Borucki, W.J., Dyer, J.W., Phillips, J.R., and Pham, P. Pioneer Venus orbiter search for Venusian lightning. United States: N. p., 1991. Web. doi:10.1029/91JA01097.
Borucki, W.J., Dyer, J.W., Phillips, J.R., & Pham, P. Pioneer Venus orbiter search for Venusian lightning. United States. doi:10.1029/91JA01097.
Borucki, W.J., Dyer, J.W., Phillips, J.R., and Pham, P. Mon . "Pioneer Venus orbiter search for Venusian lightning". United States. doi:10.1029/91JA01097.
@article{osti_5316997,
title = {Pioneer Venus orbiter search for Venusian lightning},
author = {Borucki, W.J. and Dyer, J.W. and Phillips, J.R. and Pham, P.},
abstractNote = {During the 1988 and 1990, the star sensor aboard the Pioneer Venus orbiter (PVO) was used to search for optical pulses from lightning on the nightside of Venus. Useful data were obtained for 53 orbits in 1988 and 55 orbits in 1990. During this period, approximately 83 s of search time plus 7749 s of control data were obtained. The results again find no optical evidence for lightning activity. With the region that was observed during 1988, the results imply that the upper bound to short-duration flashes is 4 {times} 10{sup {minus}7} flashes/km{sup 2}/s for flashes that are at least 50% as bright as typical terrestrial lightning. During 1990, when the 2-Hz filter was used, the results imply an upper bound of 1 {times} 10{sup {minus}7} flashes/km{sup 2}/s for long-duration flashes at least 1.6% as bright as typical terrestrial lightning flashes or 33% as bright as the pulses observed by the Venera 9. The upper bounds to the flash rates for the 1988 and 1990 searches are twice and one half the global terrestrial rate, respectively. These two searches covered the region from 60{degrees}N latitude to 30{degrees}S latitude, 250{degrees} to 350{degrees} longitude, and the region from 45{degrees}N latitude to 55{degrees}S latitude, 155{degrees} to 300{degrees} longitude. Both searches sampled much of the nightside region from the dawn terminator to within 4 hours of the dusk terminator. These searches covered a much larger latitude range than any previous search. The results show that the Beat and Phoebe Regio areas previously identified by Russell et al. (1988) as areas with high rates of lightning activity were not active during the two seasons of the observations. When the authors assume that their upper bounds to the nightside flash rate are representative of the entire planet, the results imply that the global flash rate and energy dissipation rate derived by Krasnopol'sky (1983) from his observation of a single storm are too high.},
doi = {10.1029/91JA01097},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research; (United States)},
issn = {0148-0227},
number = ,
volume = 96:A7,
place = {United States},
year = {1991},
month = {7}
}