The role of vibrationally excited oxygen and nitrogen in the D and E regions of the ionosphere
In this paper we present the results of a study of the effect of vibrationally excited oxygen, O *2, and nitrogen, N *2, on the electron density, Ne, and the electron temperature, Te, in the D and E regions. The sources of O *2 are O-atom recombination, the photodissociation of O 3, and the reaction of O 3 with O at D region altitudes. The first calculations of O *2( j) number densities, Nj, are obtained by solving continuity equations for the models of harmonic and anharmonic oscillator energy levels, j=1-22. It is found that day time values of Nj are less than nighttime values. We also show that the photoionization of O *2 ( j ≥ 11) by L α-radiation has no influence on the D region Ne. In the nighttime D region the photoionization O *2 ( j ≥ 11) by scattered Lα-radiation can be a new source of O +2. We show that the N *2 and O *2 de-excitation effect on the electron temperature is small in the E region of the ionosphere and cannot explain experimentally observed higher electron temperatures.