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The Ar+ densities in the terrestrial ionosphere are computed for both low and high solar activity models. The reaction N2+(υ > 0) + Ar → N2+ Ar+ is found to be a significant source of Ar+, nearly equal to photoionization and electron impact ionization in the high solar activity model. Peak densities of Ar+ of 11 cm−3 near 190 km and 22 cm−3 near 220 km are predicted for the low and high solar activity models. It is suggested that a simultaneous measurement of Ar+ and Ar densities would provide a test for the presence of vibrationally excited N2+ in the terrestrial ionosphere.


Copyright © 1986 by the American Geophysical Union.

The following article appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 91(A2), and may be found at

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