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What is aeronomy?

The word "Aeronomy" became official in 1954 when the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) adopted it. Aeronomy is a multidisciplinary science, based on observations, which contributes to the knowledge of the atmospherical environment from the Earth to the Sun.

Its basic field of investigation is the stratosphere, the atmospheric region just above the troposphere in which the main meteorological phenomena take place. From there it extends into interplanetary space, up to hundreds of thousands of kilometers from the Earth, where there is no more atmosphere, but where the magnetic field of our planet is still present.

In general, aeronomy is the science that studies all planetary atmospheres in which physical and chemical processes, resulting from the dissociation and ionization phenomena under the influence of the solar radiation, are important.

Aeronomy has grown considerably with the launch of artificial satellites during the International Geophysical Year 1957-1958 and the development of new techniques for observations from space.

A few examples show the importance of the knowledge and understanding of all the phenomena observed in the atmospheric environment:

  • the ozone hole,
  • the greenhouse effect,
  • aerosols due to volcanic eruptions,
  • radio wave propagation in the ionosphere,
  • the magnetic storms which disturb telecommunications,
  • the radiation belts which can be dangerous for astronauts and damage satellite electronics,
  • the orbital perturbations and the decay of artificial satellites due to the air drag

Detailed definition of Space Aeronomy


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