It is pointed out that the interstellar gas which passes through the solar system may affect the interplanetary gas, planetary atmospheres, and the orbits of satellites. This paper discusses the interaction of the interplanetary and interstellar gases via atomic collisions. Using the results of zodiacal light observations and far ultraviolet rocket measurements, interplanetary densities near the earth are adopted as n e 30, n 11 ~ 0.2. The fraction of interstellar gas of density n l which is captured as it passes through the solar system is expressed in terms of a fractional-capture parameter (f m ) av. If n 1 (f m)av is of order 10−3 to 10−4 cm−3 then the interstellar gas contributes appreciably to the mass and energy of the interplanetary gas. A brief discussion of atomic scattering cross sections indicates that n 1 (f m ) av is of the required order of magnitude.


Solar System Interplanetary Magnetic Field Interplanetary Medium Planetary Atmosphere Interstellar Dust 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1961

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. N. Milford
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.St. John’s UniversityNew York CityUSA

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