A new method of inferring the size, number density, and charge of mesospheric dust from its in situ collection by the DUSTY probe
AuthorHavnes, Ove; Antonsen, Tarjei; Baumgarten, Gerd; Hartquist, Thomas W.; Biebricher, Alexander; Fredriksen, Åshild; Friedrich, Martin; Hedin, Jonas
We present a new method of analyzing measurements of mesospheric dust made with DUSTY rocket-borne Faraday cup probes. It can yield the variation in fundamental dust parameters through a mesospheric cloud with an altitude resolution down to 10 cm or less if plasma probes give the plasma density variations with similar height resolution. A DUSTY probe was the first probe that unambiguously detected charged dust and aerosol particles in the Earth's mesosphere. DUSTY excluded the ambient plasma by various biased grids, which however allowed dust particles with radii above a few nanometers to enter, and it measured the flux of charged dust particles. The flux measurements directly yielded the total ambient dust charge density.
We extend the analysis of DUSTY data by using the impact currents on its main grid and the bottom plate as before, together with a dust charging model and a secondary charge production model, to allow the determination of fundamental parameters, such as dust radius, charge number, and total dust density. We demonstrate the utility of the new analysis technique by considering observations made with the DUSTY probes during the MAXIDUSTY rocket campaign in June–July 2016 and comparing the results with those of other instruments (lidar and photometer) also used in the campaign. In the present version we have used monodisperse dust size distributions.