Solar Activity Variations of the Venus Thermosphere/Ionosphere

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Substantial variations of the ionosphere and thermosphere of Venus with solar activity are expected, but few detailed studies have been carried out. Using models of the background atmosphere from the VTS3 model of Hedin, we have computed the density profiles of 14 ions and 7 neutral species in the Venus ionosphere/thermosphere for high and low solar activities using recently updated electron-impact and photoabsorption cross sections. We also include photoabsorption in the soft x-ray region, which produces ionization to lower altitudes than previous models have shown. We find that at high solar activity, the O+ density profile produces a pronounced F2 shoulder, which should not be misinterpreted as a signature of a magnetic field in the Venus ionosphere.


Presented at the 1999 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), San Francisco, CA.

Presentation Number SM32A-05.

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