[en] Planetary Sciences: Solar System Objects: Venus ; Planetary Sciences: Fluid Planets: Atmospheres (0343 ; 1060) ; Planetary Sciences: Fluid Planets: Composition (1060) ; Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Thermosphere: composition and chemistry
[en] We present characteristics of the statistical horizontal distribution of the O[SUB]2[/SUB] infrared nightglow over most of the southern hemisphere observed with the VIRTIS instrument over a period spanning nearly 11 months of low solar activity. We show that the distribution is inhomogeneous with the regions of brightest emission reaching ~3 MegaRayleighs (MR) located at low latitude near and dawnward of the midnight meridian. The hemispherically averaged nadir brightness is 1.3 MR, in very good agreement with earlier ground based observations. We show that the dayside supply of O atoms is sufficient to produce the observed global O[SUB]2[/SUB] nightglow if approximately 50% of the dayside O production is carried to the nightside by the subsolar to antisolar global circulation. Limb profiles observed at northern mid-latitudes exhibit large intensity variations over short time periods. Calculations with a one-dimensional chemical diffusive model produce an airglow peak at 96 km, in agreement with the limb observations. The atomic oxygen density derived from the best fits to O[SUB]2[/SUB] airglow limb profiles reaches a maximum of 1.8-3.5 × 10[SUP]11[/SUP] cm[SUP]-3[/SUP] at 104 km.