The Isotopic Oxygen Nightglow as Viewed from Mauna Kea

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Science  05 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5331, pp. 1485-1488
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5331.1485

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Optical spectra of the terrestrial nightglow in the 520- to 900-nanometer region, as measured by the W. M. Keck telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the associated high-resolution echelle spectrograph, showed many bands belonging to the important O2(b-X) Atmospheric Band emission system. Previous ground-based measurements have shown only a single band, from the lowest vibrational level of the emitting state. Of particular interest is the fact that at the 762-nanometer position of the b-X 0-0 band, where earlier studies have shown only absorption features, these results showed both absorption at the16O16O line positions and well-resolved emission at the positions of many of the 18O16O and 17O16O lines. These findings show that substantial advances can be made in understanding atmospheric emission phenomena by the use of astronomical tools.

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