Influence of the Hot Oxygen Corona on the Satellite Drag in the Earth's Upper Atmosphere

Valeri Shematovich, Dmitry Bisikalo, Sandro Krauss, W. Hausleitner, H. Lammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calculation results on the possible influence of the hot oxygen fraction on the satellite drag in the Earth's upper atmosphere on the basis of the previously developed theoretical model of the hot oxygen geocorona are presented. Calculations have shown that for satellites with orbits above 500 km, the contribution from the corona is extremely important. Even for the energy flux Q0 = 1 erg cm-2 s-1, the contribution of the hot oxygen can reach tens of percent; and considering that real energy fluxes are usually higher, one can suggest that for extreme solar events, the contribution of hot oxygen to the atmospheric drag of the satellite will be dominant. For lower altitudes, the contribution of hot oxygen is, to a considerable degree, defined by the solar activity level. The calculations imply that for the daytime polar atmosphere, the change of the solar activity level from F10.7~200 to F10.7~70 leads to an increase in the ratio of the hot oxygen partial pressure to the thermal oxygen partial pressure by a factor of almost 30, from 0.85 to 25%. The transition from daytime conditions to nighttime conditions almost does not change the contribution from suprathermal particles. The decrease of the characteristienergy of precipitating particles, i.e., for the case of charged particles with a softer energy spectrum, leads to a noticeable increase of the contribution of the suprathermal fraction, by a factor of 1.5-2. It has been ascertained that electrons make the main contribution to the formation of the suprathermal fraction; and with the increase of the energy of precipitating electrons, the contribution of hot oxygen to the satellite drag also increases proportionally. Thus, for a typical burst, the contribution of the suprathermal fraction is 30% even at relatively high solar activity F10.7 =135.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalSolar System Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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