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The alkali metal atmospheres on the Moon and Mercury: Explaining the stable exospheres by heavy Rydberg Matter clusters

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Leif Holmlid
Publicerad i Planetary and Space Science
Volym 54
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 101-112
Publiceringsår 2006
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kemi
Sidor 101-112
Språk en
Länkar <Go to ISI>://000234904400010
Ämnesord moon, mercury, atmospheres, Rydberg matter, cluster, TIME-OF-FLIGHT, POTASSIUM PROMOTER, STIMULATED-EMISSION, INTERSTELLAR, SPACE, COULOMB EXPLOSIONS, SODIUM ATMOSPHERE, LUNAR ATMOSPHERE, EXCITED-STATES, ENERGY-RELEASE, IRON CATALYSTS
Ämneskategorier Fysikalisk kemi

Sammanfattning

Despite recent progress in the modeling of alkali atmospheres like those around the Moon and Mercury, many problems still exist. It is proposed that Rydberg Matter (RM) clusters containing Na and K atoms are the main part of the alkali atmospheres of the Moon and Mercury, forming large clouds. RM clusters are studied in the laboratory with laser fragmentation and laser spectroscopy methods. Due to the very large collision cross sections of Rydberg atoms and RM clusters, the atmospheres are not collision free, as normally assumed based on the low densities of free alkali atoms. The non-escaping radial density variation for the Na atoms, observed, e.g., on the Moon, and the Maxwellian velocity distributions observed on Mercury are caused by a true atmosphere with collisional equilibration; this process is not possible in an exosphere. Fast alkali atoms are released from the RM clusters already at large heights by solar photons and charged particle impact. The kinetic temperatures derived for the atmospheres agree with the quantized energy release. The cluster model predicts that the rate of loss from the surface is much smaller than for a purely atomic model, since the transient storage is in the RM cluster form in the atmosphere and not at the surface. The conductance of the atmosphere is of the order of 100 S due to the facile collisional ionization of the RM clusters. The apparent depletion of K in the atmosphere of Mercury is explained. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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