AuthorHunten, D. M.
Sprague, A. L.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationHunten, D. M., & Sprague, A. L. (2002). Diurnal variation of sodium and potassium at Mercury. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 37(9), 1191-1195.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractA summary is given of our published observations showing a large (3 to 4) morning/afternoon ratio of the abundances of sodium and potassium. The proposed mechanism is deposition of ions and atoms on the cold night side, followed by their outward diffusion and evaporation as the Sun rises. Published criticisms of this mechanism are discussed and answered. The rate at which Na atoms can evaporate from the surfaces of the Moon and Mercury is uncertain, but, after a review of laboratory measurements, we propose that it is substantial at temperatures of 400 K and higher. Possible reasons are discussed why another group does not find the diurnal variation. There are differences in observing geometry, but the matter remains unclear.