Better real-time estimates of thermospheric density are vital to the safe management of satellite traffic in Low Earth orbit, ensuring those satellites continue to deliver critical services.
Sudden stratospheric warmings in the high latitude wintertime can drive changes in light species (H, He and O) all the way though the thermosphere, likely influencing ion densities in the exosphere.
The weather in the thermosphere includes winds that buffet spacecraft as they orbit the Earth, but how well can these winds be modeled?
Long-time director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics conducted pioneering studies of the atmospheres of Earth and other planets using ultraviolet spectroscopy.
Researchers explored how lunar gravity affects the density of the thermosphere. The study could help improve the accuracy of satellite orbit predictions.