Lecturer: Yasir Soobiah (IRF)
Date: 2010-12-16 10:30
Place: Aniara

A search for auroral-type ion beams in the Martian topside ionosphere

Yasir Ibn Jilani Soobiah1, Stas Barabash1, Rickard Lundin1, Hans Nilsson1, Francois Leblanc2, Olivier Witasse3, David Winningham4

1. Solar System Physics and Space Technology, Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Institutet för rymdfysik, IRF), Kiruna, Sweden.
2. Service d'Aéronomie, CNRS/IPSL University of Versailles Saint-Quentin, Verrières-le-Buisson, France.
3. Research and Scientific Support Department, ESTEC ESA, Noordwijk, Netherlands.
4. South West Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, United States.

We present the results of investigations by the Analyzer for Space Plasmas and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) Ion Mass Spectrometer (IMA) on Mars Express (MEX) into the possible links between particle signatures surrounding the ?mini-magnetospheres? of Mars with auroral UV emission as observed by MEX SPICAM UV Spectrometer.
We first present examples of particle signatures from the ?mini-magnetospheres?. These are electrons with peaked distributions in differential energy flux and precipitating electrons at suprathermal energies as measured by the MEX ASPERA-3 Electron Spectrometer (ELS).
This is compared to ion measurements by IMA to search for ion beams we expect to be present during the Martian aurora. In the most dynamic case, we have observed the energy dispersion of both electrons and heavy ions of planetary origin (from a few eV to a few hundred eV over a time scale of several tens of seconds).

The investigation will attempt to understand in greater depth than previous studies, the conditions in the space plasma environment of Mars that lead to observations of aurora. This is realised by studying the relationship these auroral-type events have with solar wind conditions over close to eighteen months of data obtained during two close conjunctions between Earth and Mars.

Created 2010-12-01 12:43:23 by Mats Holmström
Last changed 2010-12-08 15:42:13 by Mats Holmström