Intensities of the martian N2 electron-impact excited dayglow emissions

Jane L. Fox*, Nicholas E.F. Hać

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The first N2 emissions in the Martian dayglow were detected by the SPICAM UV spectrograph on board the Mars Express spacecraft. Intensities of the (0,5) and (0,6) Vegard-Kaplan bands were found to be about one third of those predicted more than 35 years ago. The Vegard-Kaplan band system arises from the transition from the lowest N2 triplet state (A 3Σu+;v′) to the electronic ground state (X1Σg+;v″). It is excited in the Martian dayglow by direct electron-impact excitation of the ground N 2(X) state to the A state and by excitation to higher triplet states that populate the A state by cascading. Using revised data, we compute here updated intensities of several of the bands in the N2 triplet systems and those involving the a1Πg state, the upper state of the Lyman-Birge-Hopfield bands. We find that the predicted limb intensities for the (0,5) and (0,6) Vegard-Kaplan bands are consistent with the measured values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2529-2533
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Mars dayglow
  • Mars thermosphere models
  • martian airglow
  • nitrogen emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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