NASA’s TIMED Satellite Finds Hot Atomic Hydrogen in Earth’s … – Sci-News.com

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Using data from NASA’s TIMED satellite, scientists have discovered the existence of hot atomic hydrogen atoms in the thermosphere (from about 56 to 311 miles, or 90-500 km, above the surface), a layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The finding changes current understanding of the hydrogen distribution and its interaction with other atmospheric constituents.

Artist rendition of NASA’s TIMED spacecraft. The satellite is orbiting at 388 miles (625 km) and viewing in the anti-sunward limb direction. Image credit: NASA.

Because hydrogen atoms are very light, they can easily overcome a planet’s gravitational force and permanently escape into interplanetary space.

“Atomic hydrogen, as the dominant neutral constituent in the upper layer of the terrestrial atmosphere, is of critical importance for many disparate aspects of aeronomy and heliophysics, such as atmospheric chemistry and…

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