Atmospheric Absorption Anomalies in the Ultraviolet near an Altitude of 50 Kilometers

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Science  21 Nov 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3908, pp. 998-1000
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3908.998


Rocket-borne radiometer determinations of ozone distributions by absorption of ultraviolet sunlight show anomalous eflects near 3000 angstroms. The instrument uses four 40-angstrom filters in the spectral region between 2650 and 3300 angstroms. At altitudes below 40 kilometers, signals from filters centered near 3000 angstroms appear reduced at least 25 percent below calculated values. However, at higher altitudes an unpredicted sharp increase in signals is observed. These effects are inconsistent with ozone absorption and cannot be ascribed to instrument characteristics. A previously unobserved absorption band of an atmospheric constituent, possibly the metastable excited states of molecular oxygen O2(1Δg) or O2(1Σg+) can account for the anomalous effects.

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