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  1. Since January 2012, we have been monitoring the behavior of sulfur dioxide and water on Venus, using the Texas Echelon Cross-Echelle Spectrograph imaging spectrometer at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF, Mauna Kea Observatory). Here, we present new data recorded in February and April 2019 in the 1345 cm −1 (7.4 μ m) spectral range, where SO 2 , CO 2 , and HDO (used as a proxy for H 2 O) transitions were observed. The cloud top of Venus was probed at an altitude of about 64 km. As in our previous studies, the volume mixing ratio (vmr) ofmore »SO 2 was estimated using the SO 2 /CO 2 line depth ratio of weak transitions; the H 2 O volume mixing ratio was derived from the HDO/CO 2 line depth ratio, assuming a D/H ratio of 200 times the Vienna standard mean ocean water. As reported in our previous analyses, the SO 2 mixing ratio shows strong variations with time and also over the disk, showing evidence for the formation of SO 2 plumes with a lifetime of a few hours; in contrast, the H 2 O abundance is remarkably uniform over the disk and shows moderate variations as a function of time. We have used the 2019 data in addition to our previous dataset to study the long-term variations of SO 2 and H 2 O. The data reveal a long-term anti-correlation with a correlation coefficient of −0.80; this coefficient becomes −0.90 if the analysis is restricted to the 2014–2019 time period. The statistical analysis of the SO 2 plumes as a function of local time confirms our previous result with a minimum around 10:00 and two maxima near the terminators. The dependence of the SO 2 vmr with respect to local time shows a higher abundance at the evening terminator with respect to the morning. The dependence of the SO 2 vmr with respect to longitude exhibits a broad maximum at 120–200° east longitudes, near the region of Aphrodite Terra. However, this trend has not been observed by other measurements and has yet to be confirmed.« less
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract In this paper we report the first close, high-resolution observations of downward-directed terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) detected by the large-area Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory, obtained in conjunction with broadband VHF interferometer and fast electric field change measurements of the parent discharge. The results show that the TGFs occur during strong initial breakdown pulses (IBPs) in the first few milliseconds of negative cloud-to-ground and low-altitude intracloud flashes, and that the IBPs are produced by a newly-identified streamer-based discharge process called fast negative breakdown. The observations indicate the relativistic runaway electron avalanches (RREAs) responsible for producing the TGFs are initiatedmore »by embedded spark-like transient conducting events (TCEs) within the fast streamer system, and potentially also by individual fast streamers themselves. The TCEs are inferred to be the cause of impulsive sub-pulses that are characteristic features of classic IBP sferics. Additional development of the avalanches would be facilitated by the enhanced electric field ahead of the advancing front of the fast negative breakdown. In addition to showing the nature of IBPs and their enigmatic sub-pulses, the observations also provide a possible explanation for the unsolved question of how the streamer to leader transition occurs during the initial negative breakdown, namely as a result of strong currents flowing in the final stage of successive IBPs, extending backward through both the IBP itself and the negative streamer breakdown preceding the IBP.« less