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Jeans Escape

Synonyms

Definition

The Jeans escape phenomenon is one of the mechanisms by which a planet can loose gradually some constituents of its atmosphere. It is named after James Hopwood Jeans (1877-1946), an English astrophysicist. The process corresponds to the probability for a molecule with a speed larger than the planet's escape velocity, to travel a distance larger than the atmospheric scale height without colliding with another molecule. The average thermal velocity of a molecule in a gas is proportional to the square root of the temperature and inversely