Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Comment on absorbing regions in the atmosphere of Venus as measured by radio occultation

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0019-1035(80)90145-1


Abstract Two recent papers, one by A.J. Kliore, C. Elachi, I.R. Patel, and J.B. Cimeno, Icarus 37, 51-2- 72, 1979, and one by B. Lipa and G.L. Tyler, Icarus 39, 192–208, 1979, reach fundamentally different conclusions concerning microwave absorption in the atmosphere of Venus, even though they are based on the same Mariner 10 radio occultation data. The Lipa and Tyler results are in general agreement with earlier Mariner 5 measurements analyzed by G. Fjeldbo, A.J. Kliore, and V.R. Eshleman, Astron. J. 76, 123–140, 1971. We find that in the Kliore et al. treatment: (1) the effects of measurements and analysis uncertainties in the derived values of absorption are underestimated; (2) an incorrect formula is used for computation of the refractive effects needed to determine the absorption; (3) detailed features of a derived profile of absorption would have been created in an optically thin region by known motions of the spacecraft antenna, if its axial direction were biased about 0.5° from the computed directions; and (4) this particular angular bias is consistent with other available information about an apparent residual difference between true and reconstructed antenna pointing directions. We conclude that: (1) there is no credible evidence for measurable microwave absorption in the atmosphere of Venus at heights greater than 55 km for any of the wavelengths that have been used in radio occultation experiments, even though Kliore et al. indicate that there are significant amounts up to at least 70 km for both Mariner 10 wavelengths (13 and 3.6 cm); (2) absorption in the region 35 to 50 km has been reasonably well determined from the two concordant Mariner 5 and 10 analyses, but only at one wavelength (13 cm); and (3) improved instrumentation and careful planning and analysis will be required for the radio occultation technique to realize its potential for the study of absorbing regions in the atmospheres of Venus and the major planets.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.